Skip to main content

Full text of "Thorough Fascism To Wold Powr A History Of The Revoluton In Italy"

See other formats


Cl. No. M \ M Gx'Z 

_ ^ _ Date of release for loan 

Ac. No. 

This book should be returned on or before the date last stamped 
below. An o^stduo charge of one anna wfll be charged for each day 
the book is kept overtime. 






vn ■* 


58 Bloomsbury Street 




“ Let us study these things ; ob- 
serving the state of times past, the 
doings of men, their governance, their 
counsels, and their endeavours ; so 
that we may discern and judge rightly 
of things present, and foresee wisely 
things to come.” 


This book is a survey of Italian Fascism — its origins, 
growth and development ; its principles and doctrine ; 
its application and mechanism. These three groups are 
dealt with independently, yet form one cycle of study. 

Many people still think that the Fascist Revolution 
is merely a reaction against post-war International 
Socialism and Bolshevism, — a thing of cudgels and 
castor-oil, the overthrowing of a Parliament, and the 
seizure of power by a dictator of the Extreme Right; 
Such a description is woefully incomplete and wholly 
misleading. The seeds and roots of Fascism, as this 
book will shew, are to be found in a political terrain 
much deeper than that marked by any Communist 

In tracing the growth of Fascism a chronological 
method has been followed which unfolds its story from 
the foundation of the first Fascio (Fascist centre) in 1919 
to the advent of the Fascist Corporate State as we 
know it to-day. But it has been necessary to include 
a brief recapitulation of Italian affairs long before 
Fascism was ever heard of. This necessity arises from 
the fact that Fascism is racy of the Italian soil and 
people ; it has its roots in the particular circumstances 
of Italian history ; it has grown in a pohtical atmos- 
phere peculiar to Italy ; and it has a justification and 
explanation rising out of racial temperament — a tem- 
perament which is largely the heritage of Italy’s long 
and complicated story. In this I have done no more 


than indicate the fibres which bind Fascism into the 
core of Italy. 

In Part One the parties, policies, and conditions of 
pre-war Italy are dealt with in some detail. Without 
an appreciation of these, together with the role played 
by Italy in the Great War, no understanding of 
Fascism or the aims of Fascist Italy is possible. 

Italy’s rise to world power is specially identified 
with the development of foreign affairs ; but to follow 
Mussolini’s foreign policy it is very necessary to begin 
with an examination of Italian external affairs under 
previous regimes, with particular attention to i88i 
and 1915 — turning-points not only in Italian but in 
European history — and with no less attention to the 
crucial episodes of 1859 and 1918. The national emo- 
tions which have their reactions in Italy’s decision in 
1881-2 to form part of the Triple Alliance, the decision 
to abandon that Alliance in 1915 (with the con- 
comitant Secret Treaty of London), the chagrin of 
the 1859 Peace of Villaffanca, and the disillusionment 
of the 1918 Versailles and kindred treaties, provide 
indicators which allow us to gauge the foreign policy 
of Fascist Italy to-day and to-morrow. These things are 
woven into the narrative of Part One of this book which 
culminates with the 1933 Four-Power Pact of Rome. 

Part Two deals with Fascism as a political philo- 
sophy, and describes the means adopted to imbue the 
people with its ethical ideas. Mussolini has expounded 
his doctrine and Fascist political beliefs in a contri- 
bution to the Enciclopedia Italiana. Through the 
kindness of the Capo del Govemo and the Directors 
of that publication, to whom I return my heartiest 
thanks, I am able to include in these pages that 
final and authoritative exposition. 


Part Three shows the Constitutional changes 
wrought by the Revolution Government in order to 
ensure the application of its principles ; it describes 
the framework of the Corporate State ; and it gives the 
measures taken to protect and perpetuate Fascismo. 

I am only too conscious of the limitations of a book 
which essays to cover such a comprehensive field. 
Every chapter could well form matter for a whole 
volume. Enough has been given, however, to give a 
reasonably full description of events and ideas — 
sufficient in any case to avoid unsupported generalisa- 

In quoting Italian speeches and statements I have 
given interpretative rather than literal translations. 
With so many Italian words apparently similar to 
English words, Italian is at once superficially easy 
and profoundly difficult. The whole intent of a word 
practically common in spelling to the two languages 
has often a most different connotation. In such cases 
it is its connotation rather than its translation which 
I have sought out. But I have made one very impor- 
tant exception with a word which occurs very often 
in Fascist matters — disciplina. The word does not 
mean “ discipline ” in the popular English sense of 
an imposed chastisement as if by a schoolmaster or a 
sergeant-major. In Italian, discipline connotes self- 
respect combined with orderly unselfish behaviour as 
an outcome of an educated sense of one’s responsibili- 
ties to society. The word has not moved so far away 
as our word from its Roman-Latin meaning. Having 
failed to find a clear single-word substitute for disciplina 
I have therefore just left it throughout the following 
text as “ discipline,” but its real meaning should be 
borne in mind. 


The material here assembled is from 1919 onwards 
mosdy based on (i) research in the files of the news- 
papers of all colomrs contemporary with the events 
described, (2) Ministerial and Party speeches and 
manifestos, (3) Chamber and State documents, 
(4) Grand Fascist Council resolutions, (5) Fascist, 
non-Fascist and anti-Fascist publications, and (6) my 
own despatches made during eleven years’ observation 
and daily annotation on Italian affairs. 

Fascism is so much the creation of Mussolini that 
any history of it must perforce be a history of Musso- 
lini. His name, thoughts, words and deeds therefore 
run through this history just as they run through the 
life of modern Italy, so that it is well-nigh impossible 
to detach the movement from its master-mind. 

I have sought throughout this work to offer no 
speculation or extraneous comment, confining myself 
to facts in an historical sequence of cause and effect. 
Much of a polemical nature has been omitted where 
such has not basically affected the progress of Fascism 
and is therefore irrelevant to a constructive history of 
the movement. In fact, my ambition has been not 
only to record the progression of Italy to world power 
through Fascism but to provide the reader with 
enough material on which to form his own judgment 
on the future potentialities of Fascism, seen in the light 
of the present and the past. 

I. S. M. 

Sala. Stampa Estera, 

October 1933 . 




Preface vii 





I. Tangled Odyssey- 3 

Fascist link with Dante and Virgil. Memories of Im- 

E erial Greatness. Eleven Centuries of Division. 

cventy Years of Unity. Victim of Histo^. Holy 
Roman Empire. The Torch of Dante. Influence of 
French Revolution. Napoleon’s Ital)t. The Habsburg 
Yoke. Risorgimento. National Beginnings. 

11 . The New-born Kingdom - - - - ii 

Internal Differences. Effect on Parliament. The 
Statute and the Church. Decadence of Party System. 

Fascists as fulfillers of frustrated Risorgimento aims. 

“ Unredeemed Italy ” in Austria’s Hands. 

III. In the Play of the Powers - - - 17 

First Foreign Relations. British traditional ROle of 
Friendship. Disappointments with France. How 
Italy lost Nice and Tunis. Why Italy joined the Triple 
Alliance. Disillusionment with Austna and Germany. 

Under heel of one and thumb of other. 



IV. Two Streams and a Bridge - - - 25 

The Socialist Stream. Republican Beginnings. Italian 
Minorities in Austria. Enter Mussolini. Strange Ultra- 
Revolutionary Figure. He leads armed Socialist Re- 
volt. Movement Quelled. The Nationalist Stream. 
Reaction against Giolitti. Imperial Aims. Socialists’ 
and Nationalists’ Common Irrraentlst Aims. Gabriele 




d’Annunzio and the Futurists as connecting Link be- 
tween Socialists of Extreme Left and Nationalists of 
Extreme Right. 

V. The Fateful Treaty of London 

World War begins. Berlin’s Blunder. .Italy ignored 
when Austria invades Serbia. Declares Neutrality, 
Compensation Claims. Vienna’s Refusal. The En- 
tente’s Bid. Secret Treaty of London signed. Its 
Terms. Master-key to Fascist Foreign Pohey. Italy 
breaks with the Central Powers. 

VI. Italy joins the Allies - . - . 

Nationalist Propaganda. Mussolini and War. Inter- 
vention Demands. Mussolini expelled from Socialist 
Party. The Popolo d’Jtalia. Fight against Neutrality. 
Corradini and Corridoni. D’Annunzio’s Magical 
Oratory. Italy declares War. 


VII. The Two Enemies 

Foes at the Front and Foes in the Chamber. Untiring 
Defeatist Pr^aganda. First Effects of Russian Revolu- 
tion. The Turin Tumults. Country before Party. 

VIII. A Glimpse at the Battlefields - - - 

DifSculties of Terrain. Some Battle Figures. Inter- 
ventionists in Action. Battisti Strangled. Corridoni 
Killed. Marinetti, d’Annonzio, Mussolini Wounded, 
Spirit of Fascism bom in the Trenches. 

IX. The London Treaty qualified . - - 

The 1915 Secret Treaty affected by U.S. Entry in the 
War. The Succession States. Greek Mix-up. New 
Russia. Turkish Spoils. Effect on Fascist Policy. 


ONE AGAINST MANY (1918-1922) 

X. Mussolini raises his Flag - . - - 

The Rise of Socialism. Cabinet Divisions. Strike Era 
logins. Socialist-Communist Bloc Founded, Musso- 
lim’s First Faseio Founded. The San Scpolcro Con- 
stituent. Its Programme. Labour and ex^Servicemen. 
First Provincial Fasti. Consistency of First Economic 
and Foreign Policy with Policy today. The Fascist 










XI. Battles with the Reds - - . . 

Red Terrorism. First Fascist Congress. Plans to 
oppose Reds. Fascist and anti-Red Groups. Musso- 
lini stands for Parliament. Not Elected. Arrested 
instead. Strike-ridden Italy. Factories Seized. Com- 
munists in Control. Inept Government. Pitched 
Battles. Giolitti back in Power. He invites Fascist 
Help. First Fascist Syndicate at Milan. Corporate 
Idea takes Root. The Communists and Socialists 
^lit. Government against the Fascists. The Diana 
Theatre Massacre. Position in Alto Adige. Thirty- 
three Fascists returned. Mussolini Deputy. 

XII. Other Conflicts : against the Liberals, 

the Clericals, the Masons - - - 

Liberal-Democratic Idealists. Adulterated Principles. 
Lack of Unity. Socialist Cohesion. Rise of Catholic 
Popular Party. Don Sturzo’s Christian Socialism. 
Its Fatal Demagogic Character. Italy the Dupe of 
International Socialism. Masonic Rule. French In- 
fluence. Nationalist Whole-hearted and cx-Service- 
men’s Half-hearted Support of the Fascists. 

XIII. The Debacle at Versailles 

§ D’Annunzio Jumps a Claim 

Peace Conference Hopes. Wilson the God-man. A 
Shattered Idol. Italy’s Peace Claims. Complications 
with Greece. The Response. “ Fiume or Death.” 
The Italians dig Themselves in. Americans in Fiume. 
Mussolini at Flume. D’Annunzio marches on Fiume. 
Forms a “ Constitution,” Fantastic Style. Origin of 
the Blackshirt. Giolitti back in Power. He creates 
Fiume a corpus separatum. Consequent Conflicts. 
Allied Conference on Fiume opened. 

XIV. Mussolini enters Parliament - - - 

His Place in the Chamber. Maiden Speech. Alto 
Adige again. Foreign Affairs. He attacks Com- 
munist Doctrines. Co-operation of Classes and Capital 
and Labour foreshadowed. Roman Peace with Vati- 
can also foreshadowed. He offers Factional Disarma- 
ment. Fascism and Violence. Mussolini’s Rhetorical 
Method. Clear Vision of the Future. 

XV. Towards REVOLxmoN- - - . - 

Resignation of Giolitti. Socialist Premier Bonomi. 
6000 Fascists assail Ravenna. The Sarzana Ambush. 
A Fascist-Socialist Truce. Fascist Split. Mussolini 
resigns Office. Resignation rejected. Fascist Con- 
gress convened, Mussolini insists on Unity as Price of 









Leadersliip. Unity proclaimed. Mussolini returns. 
Preparing to become a Regular Parliamentary Parly. 

The Monarchy Question, Mussolini’s Views. Re- 
publicanism jettisoned. Reasons. The Garibaldi 
Parallel. The Army and the Industrialists. Liberal 
Overtures. Udine Speech. Crystallization of Doc- 
trines. Congress of Rome again. Fascists become an 
Inscribed Party. The Communists’ Last Strike. 

Broken by Blackshirts. Election of Achille Ratti as 
Pope. Importance to History of Fascism : Reasons. 

Facta becomes Premier. Nation depressed. Foreign 
Policy F ailures . Mussolini ready for March on Rome. 

XVI. The March on Rome - - - - 142 

Mussolini given Full Party Powers. Blackshirt Activity 
in the Alto Adige. The Position there. And in Naples. 

“ Quadmmvirate ” appointed. Military Disposi- 
tions. The Church’s Precaution. Fascist Diplomatic 
Mission. Proclamation of Mobilisation. Its Assur- 
ances. Facta orders State of Siege and Arrests. 

Orders revoked. Contact with King. Mussolini 
refuses a Portfolio. Blackshirts move on Rome. 
Mussolini offered Premiership. Fascists enter Rome. 
Mussolini accepts. First Audience with King. Speech 
at Unknown Warrior’s Tomb. Mmsolini becomes 
an International Figure. Demobilises his Troops. 

Calls his First Cabinet Meeting. 



XVII. First Speeches as Premier - - - 153 

Collaboration Efforts. First Reforms and Changes. 
Mussolini warns the Chamber. Home Policy. Key 
Phrases. He speaks to the Senators on Liberalism. 

On “ Constitutional Rails.” Blackshirt Militia 
founded. Grand Fascist Council created. Movement 
grows in General Popularity. Liberals lend Support 
to Fascist Government. Polemical Issues. ’“Big 
Stick ” Arguments. Comparative Calm. 

XVIII. A New Tone in Foreign Affairs'^- 162 

K^ Points from First Speech. Treaties. Debts. 

A Word to Europe. A Warning to Turkey. En- 
tente Relations put to the Test, Policy of “ Nothing 
for Nothing.’^’ Uncertainty Abroad. Nationalist 
Claims. Mussolini in London. King George and 
Queen Mary in Rome. Conciliative Step with Ji^o- 
slavia. Trade Treaty Policy. Deep but Unruffled 
Waters. The First Gteturbance. 



XIX. Guns at Corfu - - - - - r68 

Italian Mission murdered in Albania. Mussolini 
holds Greece Responsible. Ultimatum to Athens. 

Corfu bombarded. Refugees hit. World and 
Geneva Reaction. Greece accepts Italy’s Terms. 

The Fium5 Crisis. 

XX. Actions and Counter- actions - - 173 

Unrest inside the Party, and without. Mussolini’s 
Roxmd-up. “ Illegality ” Accusations. Italian 
Masons. Freemasonry declared “ incompatible ” 
with Fascism. Populars’ Trade Unions ousted. 
Demands to disband Fascist Militia. “ Normalisa- 
tion.” Fiume settled. General Elections. Opposi- 
tion Disintegration. Fascist Victoty. Opposition 
increases. Amcndola and Matteotti. 

XXI. The Matteotti Set-baok - - - 183 

The Kidnapping and Murder of Matteotti. Public 
Horror. Fascist Action. Arrest of Suspects. Musso- 
lini’s “ Solemn Oath.” exposition Opportunism. 
Retirement to Aventine. The “ Moral Question.” 
Mussolini outlines Reform. Farinacci. Eficct 
Abroad. Murder of Casalini. Country begins to 
rally back. Aventine Suicide. The Budget Balanced. 

XXII. Mussolini retakes the Initiative - - 191 

Mussolini claims Responsibility. Attacks Aventine. 

Fascism becomes Absolute. Corporate State out- 
lined. Capital and Labour both warned. Consti- 
tutional Reform Commission. The Fascist “ Way of 
Life.” “ The Goal is Empire.” 

XXIII. War with the Anti-Fascists (1925-1927) 198 

Beginning of FuoruscUi. Suppressive Legislation. 
Freemasonry outlawed. The Zaniboni Plot. The 
“ Matteotti Trial.” Negligible Sentences. Effect 
Abroad. The Gibson Attempt on Mussolini. The 
Lucetti Attempt. The Zamboni Attempt. Special 
Defence of the State Tribunal inaugurated. Death 
Sentence reintroduced. Confino revived. The Cham- 
ber. Giolitti’s Last Phase. Street Scenes. 

XXIV. In the Comity of Nations (1925-1927) - 21 1 

Misrepresentation Abroad. The Real Bases. Nine 
Points. The Alpine Gate. 'No Anschluss. Trade and 
Arbitration Treaties. Sea Routes. Vis-4-iiis Jugo- 
slavia. The Albanian Buffer. Policy with Succes- 
sion States. DifiScultics with Belgrade. Grievances 





with France ; Tangiers, Tunis, Libya, Fuorusciti. 

Rising Place in World Affairs ; Debts, Reparations, 
Disarmament, Treaty Revision, Tariffs, Five-Powei 


{ uridical Construction of New State. Fundamental 
.aws. Ten Basic Groups. Blackshirts’ Social Work. 
Emigration Reform. Corporative Idea. Labour 
Charter published. Fascist 1927 Figures. Secret 
Negotiations with the Vatican. 

XXVI. Bombs AND AN Olive Branch (1927-1933) 239 

Attempt on the King, Terrorist attacks on Officials 
Abroad. Attempt on Crown Prince. Schirru. 
Sbardallotto. Bovone. Special Tribunal busy. 
“Liberty and Justice.” Amnesty. Lipari demobi- 

XXVII. An International Power (1927-1933) - 248 

National and World Affairs. Italy’s Attitude 
in 1928. Naval Talks with France. The Parity 
Snag. Mr. Henderson’s Effort. Mussolini opens 
World Appeal. “ Clean Slate ” plea to America. 

Position m 1932. Rise of Hitler. Feeling against 
Jugoslavia, Italy with France or Germany? 
Four-Power Pact. New .daicWwj Peril. Mussolini’s 

XXVIII. Peace and Polemics with the Ghuroh 272 

The “ Roman Question ” ended. Lateran Treaties 
and Concordat. Mussolini on Christian Rome. 
Cavour’s Dream fulfilled. The Pope comes out. 

Savoy. Education Quarrel. “ Catholic Action ” 
accused. Polemics and Deadlock, Terms of 

XXIX. Completion of the New Order— and 

Beyond- - 281 

Prestige. Fascists in Other Lands. Facing World 
Crisis. Fascist Grand Council Statute. Election 
System. Fascist Plebiscite. First Blackshirt 
Parliament. Classic Reinvocation. Virgil linked 
with Fascism. Development of the “ Universal 
Idea.” Tenth Anniversary Classicism. Augustan 
Peace. Universal Appeffi. Committee formed 
for World Action. 




I. Doctrine 301 

The Abstract Idea, System of Thought. Mussolini’s 
Exposition of Fundamentals. His Thirteen Points ; 
Philosophic, Spiritualised, Positive, Ethical, Religious, 
Historical, Anti-Individual, Corporative, Anti-Demo- 
cratic, the State, Dynamic, R6le of the State, Dis- 


Mussolini’s Further Exposition. Growth of Doctrine. 

Peace and Nature. Battle of Life. Socialism answered. 
Democracy. Liberalism in Histoiw. The Twentieth 
Centu^ State. Religioii and the State, The Roman 
Tradition. Universality claimed. 

III. Doctrine into Cult 331 

Revolution Idea kept alive. Symbolism. Altars and 
Rites. " PresenU.” Histo^ exalted. Military Spirit 
and Religious Formulas. The Decalogue. The Oath. 

The Prayer. Ara Patna. “ The Book and the Rifle.” 

“ Fascist Culture.” National Conscience. 


Introductory Note - - - - - -331 


I. Constitutional Changes _ . . - 333 

Special Powers to Prime Minister. He alone responsible 
to King. Laws by Royal Decree. The Fascist Parly. 

Its Organs. National Council Directory. Strength. 

The Grand Council Constitution. Deliberative Func- 
tions. Its Powers : Election Lists, Succession to Throne, 
Prerogatives of Crowm Government and Foreign 
Affairs, Succession to Capo del Govemo. Modali^ of 
Royal Selection of Capo del Govemo. Recomposition 
of Chamber. Election Methods. Senate. Academy. 

II. Where State and Labour meet - - 340 

Novel Features. Labour Charter. Labour Courts. 
Employment and Welfare. Collec^ve Contracts. 

Strikes and Lockouts Illegal. Sanctions. Syndical 
Cate^ries. Ibegional Categories. Their Purpose. 

The Corporations. Their Purpose. State and Lahour 
Co-operation. National Coimcil. 



III. Back to the Land 

Public Works. Coping Slones instead of Foundation 
Stones. Ten Years’ Work. Rural Policy. Mussolini 
on “Back to the Land.” Bonifica Integrale. Its Aims 
and Extent. Littoria. “Battle of the Grain.” 1033 
Victory. “ Battle of Agriculture.” Moving to New 

IV. Self-protegtion ------ 

R61e of the Militia. A Check on Secret Societies. 
Provincial Control. Fuorusciti. Defence of the State 
Tribunal. New Penal Code. Press Laws. Curbing 
Opposition. Liberty of the Press. Mussolini’s Views. 
Fascist Journalism. 

V. The Fighting Forges 

Unity of Command. Military and Political Co-ordina- 
tion. Organisation of the Country for War. Civil 
Mobilisation. Army Reform. Place of the Blackshirt 
Militia. Navy Reform. Mobility and Speed. Rise of 
the Air Force. Civil Aviation. Aviation Records. The 
Agents of Reconstruction. Balbo’s Work and Theories. 
New-Found Prestige. 

VI. Teaching the Young Idea - - - - 

The Gentile Reform. Versus Cultural Idealism. 
Italian History super-ciMhasized. Religious teaching. 
School Control and Extension. Professors’ Oath. 
Balilla, Welfare Work. Summer Camps. Sport. 
Dopolavoro. Olympic Standards. Workers’ Recreation. 
Record of Progress. 

VII. Perennial Stream - . . , . 

The Rising Generations. Militia’s AU-important Task. 
Annual Levy From Boys to Veterans. The Ceremony. 
Consigning the Rifle. Fourteen Years’ Training in 
Citizenship, Giovinizz<t kept Pristine. 

VIII. Pater Patriae ------ 

Mussoliniana. More Arbiter than Dictator. Method 
of Work. CoUateators. Endless Labour. Personal 
Regime. Publicity. Aloof from Intimacy. Death of 
Arnaldo. Odyssey of Thought in Action. The New 












Frontispiece . The Shrine of Italy. 

1. Apostle of Unity 





11. For the Allied Cause 





III. Fighting Days - - - 





IV. A Poet in Arms - - - 





V. Before and After “ The March 

on Rome 



VI. Mussolini in London - 




VII. Il Duoe - - - - 





VIII. New Italy - - - - 





IX. A Bid for Peace - - - 





X. In the Shades of the Caesars 




XL “Present” - - - - 




XII. Labour’s Magna Gharta - 





XIII. Back to the Land 




XIV. Four Western Powers Agree to 

orate ------ 



XV. New Blood - - - - 






Front End-Paper 

I. Italy and Mediterranean To-day. 

Back End-Paper 

II. The Frontiers Promised but not Wholly Granted, 

III. Frontiers which Italy got by Peace Treaties. 




(to 1870) 

“ Italy, is only a geographical expression.” 




Fascist link with Dante and Virgil. Memories of Imperial Greatness. 
Eleven Centuries of Division. Seventy Tears of Unity. Victim of History, 
Holy Roman Empire. The Torch of Dante. Influence of French 
RevShilion. Napoleon's Italy. The Habsburg Take. Risorgimento. 
National Beginnings. 

I N order to understand the Fascist movement it Is 
necessary to bring into focus the complicated back- 
ground of Italian history, social and parliamentary. 
In certain aspects Fascism stands as the vindicator of 
patriotic ideds which have their first expression not 
only in the Risorgimento but in mediaeval times. In 
> the choice of symbol and in some of its later mani- 
festations and tendencies Fascism definitely links itself 
with Imperial Rome.. 

Illuminating as it may be to trace these threads 
which reveal the continuity of pohtical aspirations, 
the real value of recalling Italy’s past at this point lies 
in another ditection. It serves to recall that Italy won 
her political independence only after about eleven 
hundred years of internal warfare and successive sub- 
jugations which moulded conflicting racial character- 
istics — characteristics which redoubled the difficulties 
and dangers of Italian parliamentary life after a 
national legislature had been finally achieved. 

The social history of the Italian people is some two 
thousand years old. Their parliamentary history we 
can put dpwn as sixty years. It is indeed a case of old 
wine in a pew bottle — and this is one view of the Italian 



situation which must be remembered when studying 
the ferment of Italian parliamentarianism which ended 
in the Fascist explosion. Such considerations may 
help to explain the reasons which handicapped the 
authority of the pre-Revolution Governments and 
made them unable to confront the modern crises 
provoked by the world war, and will show the Fascist 
reaction in historical perspective. A glance at the 
past is relevant to scrutiny of a regime which frequently 
invokes ancient trials and glories. 

After the collapse of the Imperial influence of Rome, 
the Dark Ages brought centuries of incredible con- 
fusion dining which the Italian people were divided 
among themselves under a shifting multiplicity of 
foreign masters — Saracens, Carlings, Byzantines, Hun- 
garians, Saxons, Franconians, and Normans, Now 
and again figures hke Pipin, Berengario, or Hugh 
of Provence emerge as Kings or Emperors of Italy, 
but with crowns that are only tokens of factional 
or temporary triumphs ; crowns that denote not 
unity for Italy but division. Italy was the victim of 
the Germanic notion of a Holy Roman Empire — an 
entity which became “ neither Holy, nor Roman nor 
an Empire.” That Empire split the peninsula into 
fragmentary States which were used as stepping stones 
for the easier transit of the Corpus Germanicum to the 
source of its unifying idea — the Chair of St. Peter. It 
reduced the national story of Italy into a series of 
confusing footnotes to the history of Germany and 
the Church, All hope of unity disappeared in the* 
turmoil of crude diplomacy and fighting which led 
up to the partisan wars of groups Hke Guelph and 
Ghibelline. The Renaissance blossomed in an Italy 
that was a bloodstained arena of dissension with 


nearly all the races of Europe involved in adventures 
of conquest. 

At the moment of what is perhaps Italy’s fullest 
political disintegratio n, the early years of the Four- 
teenth Century, the figure of the first apostle of Italian 
unity appears— ^afijte. — -His prophetic vision of hu- 
manity and freedom ; the compass of his references to 
Italian place-names, enshrining them in an Italy made 
total and compact by the poetic inspiration of his 
language ; his thought ; his choice of Virgil (fore- 
teller of Rome as leader of the world) to be the shade 
for ever by his side in the search for the straight 
Roman way that was lost ; — these things struck a 
patriotic spark, created a fiery star which became 
a conflagration over five hundred years later at 
the Risorgimento of the Nineteenth Century. i It is 
a fire at which the Fascists of today still light their 
torches* We shall see how the Blaclahirts closed the 
anniversary of the Tenth Year of the Fascist Revolu- 
tion with a ceremony at Dante’s tomb at Ravenna, on 
September 14, 1933, with a declamation of the Fifth 
Canto of the Inferno, the Sixth Canto of the Purga- 
torio and the Sixth Canto of the Paradise , — Cantos 
which mourn the unnatural divisions into which Italy 
was divided, and recall the imperial destiny of Rome. 
The idea of Rome as a predestined fount of universal 
thought and rule is enshrined in Dante’s De Monarchia. 
We shall hear the distant echoes of this theme in Mus- 
solini’s utterances on the Rome of the Caesars and of 
St. Petert Dante’s contemporary, Machiavelli, also 
gave council to which Mussolini lends particular ear. 
But Italy had still much agony to suffer before it 
rallied in answer to the wakening cry of Dante or to 
the advice of Machiavelli. The era following the 


death of Dante wtnessed Italy rent in civil wars 
among the condottieri — the warrior chiefs who made 
the provincial capitals into strongholds of mercenary 
troops j and the close of the Middle Ages saw the 
beginning of those combinations which were to cul- 
minate in the Eighteenth Century with the establish- 
ment of Austrian, Spanish and French rulers in Italy, 
sometimes as direct overlords, sometimes as the sacred 
allies of the Vatican — ^the fighting arm with which 
successive Pontiffs either directly or indirectly main- 
tained temporal power over the Papal States covering 
the central third of the Italian peninsula. 

The French Revolution had no second wave in 
Italy. It only served for the time being to bind tighter 
the bonds of the alien monarchies on the Italian race. 
In reaction, secret societies were formed to discuss 
these heady new notions of national liberty and per- 
sonal equality. Associations were clandestinely formed 
for the propagation of the revolutionary creeiTof the 
" rights of man.” But the arms of Austria^nd othe"? 
throned powers were too strong for the sapling shoots 
of revolutionary ideas. Spies and secret police soon 
routed out the members of these conspiratorial organ- 
isations, and prison swallowed them. A definite in- 
fluence however was created : an influence surpris- 
ingly moderate in tone. The extreme left of Italian 
political thought at that epoch was equivalent to the 
extreme right of the French legislature. 

The rise of Napoleon and his assumption of an 
Italian crown seemed at first an internal affair of 
Napoleon’s policy of Continental hegemdtiy, and his 
coronation as Emperor merely the ironical emphasis 
of his policy. The event, however, proved to be of 
immense importance to the Italians. As a people 


they had no national liberty to lose, and Napoleon’s 
recognition that they were capable of self-government 
led to the granting of institutions based on Liberal 
ideas and gave the country its first taste of relative 
political liberty, fie also extended Italy’s northern 
frontier in i8ii almost as far as Merano. Mussolini 
on more than one public occasion has asserted the 
“ Italianity ” of Napoleon ; but I have never seen 
used what is perhaps the most potent complementary 
evidence of that “ Italianity,” namely, the particular 
beneficence of his rule in Italy. It has justly been 
desc|i!^ed as liberal and enlightened. The fall of 
Napoleon and the Treaty of V^nona however recon- 
firmed the division of the Italian peninsula once again 
under the yokes of the Habsburgs, the Church and 
the Bourbons. The i8ii Alpine firontier was swept 

Momentary hopes of liberal progress were raised 
in the Papal States and in the Bourbon south, but 
these only served as a warning to Austria for an exten- 
sion and intensification of her tyranny in the north. 
But the spark flashed by Dante was now being fanned 
into spurts of flame by Mazzini. The sympathy and 
help given to Italians by Britain at this period has 
never been forgotten. It began that tradition of Italo- 
British firiendship which remains a corner-stone of 
Italian foreign policy today. Mazzini and Garibaldi 
in their dreams of Italian unity saw political salvation! 
in republicanism. Revolts began sporadically, and 
soon the Risorgiraento — the Re-uprising — ^was in full 
flame. In succession, with many fluctuations of 
fortune and, be it noted, with several basic differences 
of aims and ideas dividing the insurgents themselves, 
the foreign usurpers were at last practically on the run. 



The Republican fervour of the liberating hero, 
Garibaldi, was deviated into new and more powerful 
channels by the intervention of Victor Emmanuel, 
Prince of Piedmont, on the side of the insurgents. The 
Republican and Monarchical tributaries were united 
in a rising torrent which swept away foreign domina- 
tion from Italian sod. Under the long-sighted states- 
manship of Cavour it was a monarchy that was ulti- 
mately established, and by i86i two-thirds of the 
peninsula was a single kingdom, with Victor Emman- 
uel first real King of Italy, and Turin his capital, 

Venice, the Trentino, Istria, Dalmatia, and the 
Papal States — all these forming part of the redemp- 
'tionist programme — had not yet been redeemed. It 
is a somewhat common belief among those not familiar 
with Italian history that the present frontiers of Italy, 
encircling the old Southern Tyrol (now known as 
Alto Adige) and Istria, represent an opportunist post- 
war acquisition of Austrian lands which had never 
hitherto come within the range of Italian aspirations. 
It is not my province or intention to discuss the ques- 
tion of the rights or wrongs of the new acquisition, but 
it should be noted that Italy’s claims go deep into 
Italian history. The Liberal apostle Mazzini declared, 
“ Ours — if ever land was ours — is the Trentino. Ours 
are the inner Alps and ours are all the waters that 
descend to pour themselves into the Adige and the 
Gulf of Venice.” Garibaldi was recalled from a march 
of conquest into these regions — an order from his new- 
found King which he reluctantly answered with his 
famous one-word telegram which spoke volumes, 
Obbedisco, “ I Obey.” 

The flame was kept alive in 1896 by the erection of 
the national monument to Dante, not in his native 



Florence, but at Trento, in the heart of the unredeemed 

It was Dante who immortalised Istria as Italy’s 
frontier : 

“ SI com’ a Pola presso del Quarnaro 
Che Italia chiude e i suoi termini bagna.” 

This is an example of just one of the many threads 
which run unbroken through the whole complicated 
history of the Italian people right up to the present 
day. The first Fascist conflicts arose out of post-war 
pro-Austrian manifestations in these north and north- 
eastern frontier regions ; and Mussohni’s policy of 
preventing the Austro-German Anschluss is the latest 
expression of an Alpine problem as old as Italy 

The partial triumph of i86i was followed by a 
decade of revolts, repressions, risings and propaganda 
in these unrecovered provinces together with intrigues, 
aUiances, campaigns, treaties, plots and counterplots 
in which the new Kingdom of Italy, France, Austria, 
the Pope, and Prussia were all actively involved. 
Venice was at last restored to Italy by Austria, and 
the stronghold of the Papal States, Rome, was victori- 
ously entered by the Italian national troops on Sep- 
tember 20, 1870. The Italian capital had meantime 
been moved from Turin to Florence, partly to alleviate 
inter-provincial jealousies, but mostly to symbolise “ a 
step nearer Rome,” In 1872, Victor Emmanuel as 
King of an Italy, which at last comprised the whole 
peninsula except its Alpine doorways, made his 
solemn entry into his coxmtry’s capital, Rome. 

The vision of Virgil glimmered once more on the 
horizon of Italy’s imagination. 


Such was the tangled Odyssey of the Italian people 
in their progress to national unity. The sum of their 
distracting and inchoate history marks the inheritance 
of the first Italian governments. Their task was to 
govern and at the same time to reconcile the anomalies 
of their aooo-year-old network of social histories — each 
with their own demands and traditions — with the 
exigencies of a new-found common parliamentary 

In the following chapter we will examine what 
befell, and trace accordingly the beginnings of those 
circumstances which were later to find expression 
in the Fascist revolt. 




Internal Differences. Effect on Parliament. The Statute and the 
Church. Decadence of Party System. Fascists as Fulfillers of Frustrated 
Risorgimento Aims. “ Unredeemed ” Italy in Austrian Hands. 

A S may be seen from the first chapter, the young 
Government of the new-born Kingdom of Italy 
began its work in 1871 with the following complica- 
tion of handicaps to smooth running : 

It represented profound traditions of culture but no parlia- 
mentary experience whatsoever. 

It represented a complexity of conflicting internal interests 
with intermediate sub-traditions and habits of peoples, 
language, temperament, history and requirements arising 
out of the sectional isolation of the race under centuries 
of foreign rule. 

It inherited the unresolved problems of the Trentino, 
Eastern Friuli and Trieste (Venezia Giulia) and Dalmatia, — 
all of which had formed an integral part of the Risorgimento 
programme of deliverance. 

It therefore inherited a “ traditional ” enemy, Habsburg 

The new Italian Government established itself by force in 
a capital which also remained the capital of the Power it 
had defeated — the Roman Catholic Church. 

It represented a new-born nation against whom great 
Church or Continental alliances might be formed. 

It represented a nation whose large majority accepted the 
religious dogmas of a Church which it pohticaUy opposed 
and had bitterly antagonised. 



It represented thinkers and soldiers, very many of whom 
had fought for a Republic with passion and accepted a 
Monarchy as an expedient. 

It represented a country, sections of which had ancient 
Republican memories of local independence and glory— like 
Genoa and Venice. 

It represented a people whose loyalty to the new-found 
regime was anchored, so far, only to the abstract ideas of 
political emancipation and national self-determination. 

The Constitution on which the new Kingdom was 
based was “ il Statuto” promulgated on March 4, 
18485 by Charles Albert of Piedmont. It is interest- 
ing to note here one of the several strange anomalies 
of Italian history : the first Article of this Statute 
which formed the political rallying-point for Italy’s 
successful opposition to the sovereignty of the Popes, 
nevertheless declares that “ the Catholic, ApostoHc 
and Roman religion is the sole religion of the State.” 
Other religions were ” tolerated.” 

The Church, of course, did not recognise the King- 
dom of Italy nor the sovereignty of the House of Savoy. 
That recognition did not come tmtil the Lateran 
Treaty of 1929. 

The Statute of 1848 contains very generalised 
Articles touching the duties of the Monarchy, the 
responsibility of Ministers to the Grown and the rights 
of citizens. It became the point of reference for the 
mass of laws which gradually accumulated around it, 
known, in bulk, as the Constitution. This incrusta- 
tion of laws consisted largely of measures enshrining 
the newly-accepted principles of democracy — ^the 
rights of man, the right of assembly, the liberty 
of the Press and rule by majority vote. These 
were the labels on the new bottles into which the 


old wine was poured. The results were immediately 

•The first phenomenon was the rise and fall of the 
party system. Although they modelled their parlia- 
mentary procedure on the British system, the form 
rather than the spirit influenced the Italian pioneers ; 
the essential safeguard of the two-party system was 
ignored. Compact national government was there- 
fore almost at the outset stifled and choked by the 
rank growth of a multiplicity of parties and groups 
whose programmes in many cases were more con- 
cerned with the heterogeneous and conflicting interests 
of the country, indicated at the opening of this chap- 
ter, than with the duty of governing the nation as 
a whole. This division of attention was coupled 
with vigorous explorations in ever new fields of poli- 
tical thought. 

Almost at once there began (in the ’Seventies) 
what was dubbed il sistema di trasfomazione — the game 
of merging and fading out party convictions to suit 
the political atmosphere of the moment. This meant 
the beginning of what became a chronic state of aflfairs 
in which no party could maintain a parliamentary 
majority without shedding some of its principles in 
order to gain the benefi.t of votes given to other parties 
and groups, each of which had also of course to make 
their respective sacrifices. 

The “ transformation system ” however had one 
thing in its favour ; it allowed Ministers with special- 
ized knowledge in finance or foreign affairs to live 
through several Ministries, In the first crucial twelve 
months of the national Government’s existence there 
were four Cabinet crises. In the first twenty-five years 
eighteen new Cabinets took successive office. When 



Mussolini took over in October 1922 his Cabinet was 
the sixty-seventh since the foundation of the Constitu- 
tion in 1848 — sbcty-seven changes of Government in 
seventy-four years. These continual parliamentary 
crises made the Italian people victims of the fallacy 
which shelters behind the practice or rather the mal- 
practice of democratic forms of Government. The 
party elected could practically never represent a ma- 
jority, and the programme presented for the suffrage 
of the voters could never therefore be applied. Inter- 
mittent experiments with proportional representation 
came too late, for politics had become a profession 
and proportional representation and such essays merely 
moves in electoral campaigns. 

Italians quickly learned that a majority bloc meant 
power and opportunity for the advancement of one 
particular set of interests at the expense of others. The 
election booth became a thing of vital importance to 
vested interests. Cabinets fortified themselves with 
Subsidiary coalitions engineered in the lobbies of the 
Chamber. The fruits were to the victor. Politics 
became an end in themselves. The notion of national 
service which had inspired the Risorgimento changed 
for a parliamentarianism whose horizon was bounded 
by the inside walls of the two Chambers. Great men, 
patriots and statesmen, stood qs national figures above' 
the miUe of parties ; but they too, in self-subjection 
to the principles of democracy, had perforce to have 
their feet in the clay-fields of parliamentarianism. 

This disturbed manner of government buffeted 
along without undue danger to Italy until Italy’s 
participation in the Great War. It continued during 
the war — to the grave embarrassment of Italian arma 
and to the impetidment of Italian cohesion. It stag* 


gered in face of the post-war social upheaval. Before 
the positivism of Mussolini the system collapsed. 

»It is of course not to be imagined that the pohtical 
programmes advocated by aU these parties of the pre- 
Fascist days were bad and only the Blackshirt pro- 
gramme of today good ! Patriotic and humane ideal- 
ism was behind them with few notable exceptions. 
The trouble was that the democratic system as oper- 
ated in Italy obviated the possibiUty of any one pro- 
gramme getting a reasonably continuous triah The 
economic conflict of north and south also still further 
handicapped progress. 

Despite these things the foundations of modem 
Italy were laid. The merit of much of the work carried 
out by the Fascists lies in the fact that they are the 
executors of projects planned by the old regimes, but 
frustrated in execution by the exigencies of their sys- 
tem. In later chapters it will also be seen that the 
Fascists were not the only ones who suffered thrash- 
ings and death for political principles. Liberalism 
and all it connotes played a great and noble part 
in the building of Italy ; but it opened the doors to 
forces which in its name were threatening Italy with 
chaos. Liberalism, as exercised in Italy, had out- 
played its part when Fascism took over. It could no 
longer govern. Giolitti experimented by playing off 
one armed party against another to allow him some 
chance of getting on with the task of governing. Musso- 
lini is taking no risks. He has a Fascist army. 

I am inclined to think that the post-Risorgimento 
importance of the relations between Church and 
State — the so-called Roman Question — ^has been over- 
emphasized by most historians. After the first shock 
to the Catholic world, Italy’s seizure of Rome was 



looked on as a fait accompli, and left at that. None of 
the Great Catholic Powers were in a position to rally 
to the help of the Pontificate for the restoration of tem- 
poral powers. Refusing to acknowledge the unilateral 
Law of Guarantees drawn up by the Italian Govern- 
ment, the dispossessed Pope, Pius IX., decided to de- 
clare himself a voluntary prisoner in the Vatican. 
Among other unacceptable conditions the Law of 
Guarantees stated that the Church, instead of possess- 
ing the Vatican, St. Peter’s and other stipulated 
ecclesiastical buildings, only “ enjoyed ” possession — 
a word which stripped the Papacy of sovereign rule. 

‘Successive Popes reconfiirmed the decision of Pius 
IX. ; but although the Roman Question was thus 
always very present in the minds of the people and of 
successive Governments, its reactions led more to am- 
biguities and makeshifts than to any definite trend in 
politics. Its real importance lay in its moral and not 
in its political implications. Neither Garibaldi nor 
Gavour wanted to qucurrel with their faith nor to 
alienate a people from its Church. It is reported of 
Gavour that, nearing his death without having accom- 
plished any hopeful step towards a conciliatory ar- 
rangement between the ancient Church and the infant 
State, he anxiously asked the Church mediator ‘ ‘ to bring 
him an olive branch before Easter.” The F ascists com- 
pleted this gesture. After the 1929 Lateran Peace 
between Church and State, Mussolini had a bronze 
ohve emblem placed on Gavour’s grave, engraved 
with “From Fascist Italy to GairuUo Gavour.” 

The rise of a new generation, detached from the 
anticlerical passions' of the Risorgimento, paved the 
way for rapprochement overtures which ultimately came 
to full finiition under the Fascist regime, 




First Foreign Relations. British Traditional RSle of Friendship. Dis- 
appointments with France. How Ital^ lost Mice and Tunis. Why Italy 
joined the Triple Alliance. Disillusionment with Austria and Germany. 
Under Heel oj One and Thumb of Other. 

F rance, Prussia and England all played parts in 
helping the Italian people towards independence. 
England played a quiet moral r6le. Her shores be- 
came synonymous with harbourage for Italian idealists 
and political exiles. Palmerston and Gladstone by 
correspondence and encouragement, influenced the 
minds of Italian patriots in admiration of our political 
institutions. After the establishment of the Kingdom, 
England however held aloof from further identifica- 
tion with Italian aims and ambitions except to recog- 
nise Italy’s interest in the Mediterranean. England 
was too remote and isolated to venture with help 
against Austria. True she invited Italian co-operation 
in the Egyptian expedition project of 1882, but by that 
time Italy had already reorientated her foreign active 
relations on the European map and the offer was not 
accepted, save as an acceptable sign of acquired 

England’s feelings of goodwill towards Italy never 
at any time suffered diminution, and Anglo-Italian 
relations between 1870 and 1914, remained imdis- 
turbed. As Allies in the Great War the fiiendship was 
signed with blood and sacrifice and has since con- 
tinued, officially and unofficially, unimpaired. 




Italian relations with France and Germany on the 
other hand followed an erratic course and provide 
reasons for Italy’s attitude in the Great War, and in 
matters of current affairs. 

In 1858, Napoleon III. and Victor Emmanuel II. 
joined forces to drive the Austrians from Venezia 
Giulia and Lombardy. The bargain was that in 
return for the restoration of these two provinces to 
Italy, the Duchy of Savoy and the Commune of 
Nice were to be ceded to France. Lombardy was 
taken, when Napoleon III. suddenly signed an armis- 
tice with Austria which left Venetia in Austrian hands. 
The armistice of Villafranca in 1859 came as a sharp 
disillusionment to the Italians. The human back- 
ground and dramatic reactions of this Villafranca 
peace are brought out in Mussolini’s play of that 
name. The bitterness against France was not lessened 
by Napoleon III.’s insistence on the receipt of Savoy 
and Nice, and in continuing to occupy Rome with 
his troops as the iron hand of the Pontiff. 

Just as Italy was gradually becoming united under 
the crown of Savoy, thanks to the policy of Gavour, 
so was Germany being united under the sceptre of 
Prussia, owing to the policy of Bismarck. Bismarck 
saw possibilities in the new southern Kingdom and it 
was with the aid of Prussian arms that the Austrians 
were driven out of Venetia, in the completed cam- 
paign of 1866. The frontier line however was a vul- 
nerable one for Italy. There only now remained 
“ unredeemed ” the Alpine Trentino, Trieste and 
Dalmatia. It was the Prussian invasion of France in 
1870 that caused the speedy withdrawal of the French 
troops in Rome for the defence of France. It was this 
withdrawal which facilitated the immediate capture 


of Rome and the deposition of the Pope as a tem- 
poral sovereign. 

In the same year when Victor Emmanuel became 
King of a united Italy, the HohenzoUerns assumed the 
Imperial crown of a united Germany. 

The next act in the drama of the Italo-Franco- 
German triangle comes with the development in 1878 
of an Italian Mediterranean policy. Italy had already 
a large colony of Italians in Tunis and, as a legacy 
from the old Kingdom of Sardinia and the Two 
Sicilies, it had inherited colonising agreements with 
the somewhat accommodating Bey, There was how- 
ever also a colony of Frenchmen. It was numerically 
smaller than the Italian colony, but France was a 
stronger striking power. 

In 1881 French troops, in course of a punitive 
raid against Arabs who had entered Algeria, occupied 
Tunis with a simple coup de main and established a Pro- 
tectorate. Italy was outwitted. She turned to her 
old friend Prussia, or as Prussia now was, Germany. 
There was one embarrassing difficulty however. Ger- 
many had now knit Austria into close and indestruct- 
ible alliance — and Austria was Italy’s hereditary 
enemy. But Bismarck made it clear that any Rome- 
Berlin pact could only be part of a Rome- Vienna 
pact. Driven out of any possible rapprochement with 
France on account of the Tunis affair and isolated at 
the mercy of Europe, Italy accepted the bargain. In 
1882 the Triple Alliance between Italy, Germany and 
Austria was signed — an Alliance only broken in the 
opening stages of the Great War, 

As a result of this Alliance Italy acquired importance 
in the concert of Europe. But her most sinister adver- 
saries were her new-foimd friends. No force of arms 



was used to re-establish her position in Tunis. With 
a grudging modus vivendi series of agreements, the 
Italo-French position dragged on, Italy turned to 
other North African and Red Sea extensions and laid, 
after several set-backs, the foundations of her Tripoli, 
Gyrenaica and Somaliland colonies. 

We have seen how France gave Italy abrupt dis- 
ihusionments at Villafranca and Tunis. The Ger- 
mano-Austrian disillusionment had a different char- 
acter. It was creepingly slow ; and the reaction was 
consequently more deadly. It was soon made clear 
that Italy was only a tolerated member of the Triple 
Alliance. Instead of ameliorating the traditional 
grievances of the Italian “ unredeemed ” areas, con- 
ditions from the Italian point of view were worsened. 
Italy’s furthest north became virtually a vassal zone. 
The whole strength of the pan-German movement 
was concentrated on the infiltration and dominance 
of German culture. These Alpine valleys lay in the 
track of the Mittel-Europa push. The Allgemeiner 
Deutscher Schulverein, the Tiroler Volksbund, the Sudmark 
and similar organizations coerced and tempted Italian 
culture out of the way. At Vienna, the Habsburg 
, policy of playing off one part of the Austro-Hun- 
I garian Empire against another was devoted at Trieste 
'] and in Dalmatia to inflaming Slav sentiments against 
Italy. Italian irredentist endeavours re-flared up in 
reply. Incidents and assassinations punctuated rela- 
tions between these strange “ allies.” 

Apart from these local sores, the Alliance with Ber- 
lin and Vienna led to another more subtle and under- 
mining national danger. Germany’s policy of ‘ ' peace- 
ful penetration ” brought commercial prosperity to 
Italy’s industrial north, but at the expense of industrial 


independence and moral. German capital manipu- 
lated Italy. The establishment by Germany of the 
Banca CommerciaU in 1895 was the final seal of Ger- 
man control, which from then on made its influence 
felt even in the internal administration and Press of 
the country. The development of this policy natur- 
ally made some Italians and some regions extremely 
rich. There was nothing openly hostile in this infil- 
tration. Indeed to those in the swim it was pleasant 
and profitable. And with the type of multiparty 
Government described in the last chapter there was 
no initiative strong enough to check control in the 
name of the Italian nation. There was no animus 
against the Germans. They made good business for 
the north-central provinces. Any angry feeling that 
existed was confined to the Austrians. 

Italy was under the thumb of her German ally and 
under the heel of her Austrian ally. That was the 
position in 1914. ‘ 





“ It is not with words that States are held." 




The Socialist Stream. Republican Beginnings. Italian Minorities in 
Austria. Enter Mussolini. Strange Ultra-revolutionary Figure. He 
leads Armed Socialist Revolt. Movement quelled. The Nationalist 
Stream. Reaction against Giolitti. Imperial Aims. Socialists' and 
Nationalists' Common Irridentist Aims, Gabriele d’Annunzio and the 
Futurists as Connecting Link between Socialists of Extreme Left and 
Nationalists of Extreme Right. 

I N the milange of parties, policies and interests de- 
picted in the preceding narrative there were 
two particular streams of political evolution which 
were destined to be of fundamental importance 
to the theory and practice of Fascism. These two 
streams were Socialism and Nationalism. All the 
seemingly contradictory factors in the Fascist experi- 
ment can be traced to these sources. Orthodox 
Socialism and orthodox Nationalism are incompatible 
as political theories. *It is safe to say that had there 
been no Mussolini there could have been no reconcilia- 
tion of any of the principles which form the driving 
force of these two elements. It was from a fusion of the 
social teachings of Socialism and Nationalism that the 
F ascism of Mussolini was evolved. But this fusion was 
no sudden idea. It had nothing akin to the oppor- 
tunist system of trctsformazione^ 

At the very time before the war when Socialism and 
Nationalism were moulding the ideas which were to 
find their full expression in modern Fascism they and 
their exponents were mercilessly hostile to each other. 



Both were battling with Italy’s problems, but for 
different reasons and by different routes of attack — 
differences which brought them into conflict with 
each other. Mussolini’s line of political education and 
battle was along the Socialist route. It was his enquir- 
ing mind and dynamic personality that wrested Italian 
Socialism out of its orthodox stratum. » The history 
of Socialism in Italy provides the key to the history of 
Mussolini, and the history of Mussolini is of course the 
history of Fascism# An examination of these two facts 
explains much. 

One of the most significant characteristics of the 
Left wing of Italian political history is the diffidence 
with which the international aspects of Socialism 
were received, and the enthusiasm with which the 
purely social principles, as far as they affected the 
workers and the under-dog, were welcomed. As 
far back as 1871 workers’ confraternities were formed 
to oppose internationalism and to fight their own 
social claims against Italian masters represented 
by the Parties of the Right, and the Italian middle 
classes represented by the Democratic parties of the 

It is significant that in these early manifestations the 
embryo Italian Socialists found themselves ranged by 
the logic of things alongside the Republicans. As 
already recorded, these early Repubhcans were no 
wild destroyers. They represented a patriotic group 
whose principles had been dead-ended by a Constitu- 
tion secured by a majority vote. After the establish- 
ment of the monarchy they became a respected 
political anachronism. But having by the turn of 
affairs become the Left, it was along their line of life 
that Socialism made its appearance. 


With the development however of the industrial 
revolution in Europe, international Socialism began 
to spread in earnest. From being exclusively an agri- 
cultural and artisan country, the north of Italy became 
the workshop of all Italy, a centre where workers were 
intelligent and cheap. The lack of raw materials pre- 
cipitated economic difficulties which reacted un- 
favourably on the working classes who were often ex- 
ploited. Isolated industrial spots hi the south, such as 
the sulphur mines of Sicily, also suffered the effects of 
exploitation. Farm labourers were sweated. 

International Socialism, carrying the old fabric of 
Republicanism, crept over a land where confidence 
in parliament had become weakened to vanishing 
point with a succession of economic scandals, broken 
promises and election tricks. By the ’Eighties an 
epoch of revolt, strikes, repression and imprisonment 
had begun. 

Moving from extreme to extreme in its opposition 
to Parliament as the exponent of Constitutionalism, the 
ranks of the International Socialists were augmented 
by Anarchists ; and Republicanism moving ever to 
the Left became definitely subversive. 

In 1892 however the Italian Socialists threw over 
the Anarchists and formed the Italian Socialist Party, 
introducing class warfare as its basis of action. The 
main stream of Republicans, as a tributary of the 
Left, followed the coiuse of the new Socialist Party. 
The Sociafists disliked monarchical rule on general 
principle, for to them any crown was a symbol of 
capitalist class exploitation. The Italian Republicans 
disliked monarchical rule because, by Party inheri- 
tance from the Risorgimento, they associated it with 
the oppression suffered by the Italian people under 



the Bourbons, Popes and Habsburgs. When the two 
streams of Republicanism and Socialism merged into 
one, the salvation of the Italian minorities in Austria 
became one of their avenues of most passionate propa- 
ganda. Without intention they became the champions 
of Italian nationalism and expansion, for only the 
extension of Italy’s boundaries could envisage the 
liberation of the Italian minorities. In short, the Left 
had, in this matter, become the champions of the 
extreme section of the programme of the Right — a 
sacred section of programme which had been lost 
sight of by the Right in the parliamentary decadence 
already described. 

But this Socialist Left was seldom at peace with it- 
self. It spUt and re-split on the international issue ; 
it split when confronted by any problem ; it split on 
questions of internal reform ; on questions of policy, 
theory and practice. And it shot off in bits before 
the impact of the new politico-philosophic conceptions 
then rousing men’s minds. Fragments of the party 
hitched their wagons to the intellectual meteors of 
Marx, Sorel and Bergson. 

The first general strike in Italy was in 1904 and it 
had its ignition point in a temperamental clash of 
theories between “ reformist ” and non-reformist 
Socialists. It is from this time onwards that we get 
glimpses in the Socialist ranks of a strange, eager, in- 
tolerant, ultra-revolutionary figure — ^in full tilt at the 
social order — a certain Benito Mussolini. Bom of 
Romagna fighting stock, son of a father who was 
reputed to be a member of the First International ; 
christened Benito in tribute to Benito Juarez, the 
Mexican revolutionary ; brought up in a Province 
beset with agricultural labour agitation ; an avid 


reader and searcher after new political gods, Mussolini 
brought strange lightenings into the stormy bosom of 
the Italian Socialist Party. Anti-clerical, anti- 
church, anti-monarchical, anti-constitutional, anti- 
democratic, anti-masonic, anti-nationaUst, anti-col- 
onist, he was anti-everything that savoured of the 
established order, including the reformist elements of 
his own Socialist Party. Mussolini as a youth was edu- 
cated as a village schoolmaster. He later studied at 
Geneva under conditions of cold penury that make 
the traditional old-school Scots student’s career seem 
munificent. In Switzerland he drank in Nietzsche 
and Nihilism ; bent the rigidity of Marxism with the 
violence of Sorel ; streaked their materialism with the 
mysticism and waywardness of Schopenhauer : con- 
trasted Bergson and Buddha and studied the subtleties 
of Machiavelli. In igog he went to Trent and there 
met and worked with Cesare Battisti, the irredentist 
martyr. Under the influence of Battisti, Mussolini 
became definitely irredentist, that is to say, he joined 
those who advocated the restoration to Italy not only 
of all Italians but of all districts where the Italian 
language was spoken. During this period Mussolini 
exposed the tyranny of Habsburg Austria in his writ- 
ings, and laboured for the salvation of the Italian 
minority in Austrian hands. He added flaming sparks 
of racial patriotism to the turmoil of his restless revo- 
lutionary thoughts. Expelled from Austria he returned 
to Italy ; became editor of the Socialist Avanti^ ” For- 
ward ” ; opposed Italy ; opposed Austria ; opposed 
the Tripoli war of igi i ; opposed fellow Socialists who 
visited the King ; opposed Parliament and all its 
parties ; fought duels ; organized strikes, led armed 
attacks ; wrote pamphlets, polemics, novels, poetry 



and planned plays — all of them knocking down estab- 
lished gods ; action first, last and all the time, with 
respite only when jailed. “ I have been imprisoned 
eleven times,” Mussolini told Emil Ludwig. “ In 
Berne, Lausanne, Geneva, Trent, Forli and several 
other places. And every time it was the same inter- 
val of repose that I would not have given up of my 
own free will ! ” 

The drive of his tumultuous thoughts split up the 
party. In 1913 his notions began to be defined as 
“ idealism,” not because they were ideals but because 
in the prevailing order of things they were considered 
unreachable. Nevertheless Mussolini in the autumn 
of 1913 was nominated Socialist parliamentary candi- 
date for the constituency of Forli, his native cormtry. 
He failed to win the election ; and his brand 
of idealism was thereafter condemned by official 
Socialism. He was a man testing everything and 
throwing everything aside, yet always absorbing what 
lessons everything and anything could teach him. 
He was searching for new foundations — that was his 

By 1914 Mussolini became the dictator of revolu- 
tionary Socialism. In the doctrines of proletarian in- 
surrection and syndicalist direct action preached by 
Sorel, Mussolini found a solution, or thought he had, 
which answered his own eruptive temperament. 

The extremists of the extreme rallied around him — 
fighting Socialists, out-and-out Republicans, Anarch- 
ists and Syndicalists — the Reds of the epoch. In June 
1914 they launched an armed revolt against the State. 
After a clamorous Congress of Socialists in Ancona, 
the revolt broke out’on June 1 2 and what are known 
as the “ Red days ” began, A railway and a general 



strike was proclaimed. Riots, mob warfare and 
barricade fights were staged in Ancona, Milan, Rome, 
Florence and elsewhere. Casualties among the Social- 
ists and among the soldiers called out to repell them 
were many, but the total of fatal casualties were sur- 
prisingly few — about twenty — considering the extent 
of the rising and the fact that sometimes the demon- 
strators totalled about twenty thousand. The King’s 
Palace at the Quirinal was guarded by troops, 

In the face of this menace the Chamber adjourned 
for want of the legal number of members present to 
deal with the situation. And when it did open, the 
Socialists demanded its closmre as a sign of mourning 
for their dead. This movement however was quickly 
quelled to a luU by Government measures, but the 
revolution simmered until the outbreak of the Great 
War confi'onted the Socialists and Mussolini with new 

The violence of the Socialists’ reaction however had 
driven fi:om office a Premier who for twenty-tv'O years 
had dominated Italian parliamentary Hfe — Giovanni 
Giolitti. A specialist in party warfare, he jockeyed the 
Centre parties to his will and exercised a \artual dicta- 
torship over the Italian people with a severity scarcely 
exceeded in Fascist times. But his outlook was that of 
a shrewd electioneering agent. Parliament was his 
chessboard and the game was office. He had a genius 
for foreseeing crises — and resigning before they broke. 
Working behind the scenes he would at his well-chosen 
moment take up the reins again as the acclaimed 
saviour of the country fi:om the crises which Ids policy 
and speculative party alliances had provoked. He 
professed and exercised no interest in foreign affairs. 
He was the master of a Centre whose liberalism 


bartered away all principles in the market of com- 
promise. He was the personification of the parliamen- 
tary generation which succeeded the heroic age of the 
Eisorgimento— the generation which provoked the 
Fascist recovery of Italy. 

While the Socialist-Republican Left was assailing 
the principles of democratic government and the au- 
thority of the State, there came into being a party of 
the Extreme Right which attacked not the principles 
but the practice of democracy as exercised in Italy. 
This was the Nationalist group. From mostly Floren- 
tine beginnings about 1903 the Nationalists coalesced 
into an official party in 1911. • Disgusted with Parlia- 
ment’s neglect of the interests of the country as a 
patriotic national entity and further disgusted with 
the weakness of Parliament’s colonial and foreign 
policy, this party became the champion of an aggres- 
sive conservative policy with Mediterranean expansion 
and Adriatic recovery as its watchwords^ 

In its expansionist programme it had the unqualified 
opposition of all Socialists. In its recovery programme 
its aims overlapped those of the Socialist-Irridentist 
groups — though the Socialists thought of this problem 
basically in social terms, while the Nationalists thought 
of it in territorial terras, like the old Republicans. 
Indeed the Nationalists professed themselves the 
champions of the Risorgimento programme. But in 
the sheer exuberance of reaction the Nationalists went 
much further. 

Their political demands included not only the 
recovery of Roman Imperial North Africa and the re- 
conquest of the Alpine Trentino, Venezia Giulia, 
Trieste, Fiume and Dalmatia, but included Italian 
claims on Malta, Corsica, Savoy, Nice and the Swiss 


Ticino. The inspiration of the Nationalist movement 
was militant patriotism with sabre-rattling vengeance. 
The party however had not sufficient strength to 
make any serious cleavage of current in the general 
maelstrom of pre-war politics but its influence lived 
to permeate Fascist policy. 

A significant movement identified with Nationalist 
activities was the creation of the Dante Alighieri 
Society. Re-invoking Dante as the apostle of Italian 
patriotism, this society harnessed the cultural tradi- 
tions of the Italian race to the nulijtant and expansion- 
ist aims of the Nationalist Party. Its chief end was to 
preserve, by institutions and propaganda, the currency 
of the Italian language in the Trentino, Istria and 
Dalmatia, where Italians were minority groups imder 
Austrian rule. This society now operates as a Fascist 
institution, raising Dantesque protests when the Yugo- 
slavs twist the Dalmatian tail of the Venetian lion. It 
gives cry to Malta. 

Between the right of Nationalism and the left of 
Socialism there glittered a strange connecting link. 
This link was not a party. It was a personality — 
Gabriele d’Annunzio. Now with one and now with 
the other, the poet gave exhilarating words and 
thoughts to each in turn, lending a certain magic surge 
of daring ideas and aspirations to the followers of 
the two political extremes. The Liberal-Democratic 
parties of the Centre were left in the void beneath the 
arch of his politico-poetical flights. Fluttering on the 
same weird parabola were the Futurists, who mixed up 
art, literature and politics in one extravagant gesture 
against the established bourgeoise order. 

lit was from the parties, people and programmes de- 
scribed in this chapter that Fascism was evolved* The 
° 33 


question of intervention, the struggles of the Great 
War, the disillusionments of the Peace and the 
post-war upheaval all in succession augmented and 
finally united, as we shall see, their flow of ideasj 



World War Begins. Berlin's Blunder. Italy ignored when Austria 
invades Serbia. Declares Neutrality. Compensation Claims. Vienna's 
Refusal. The Entente's bid. Secret Treaty of London. Its Terms. 
Master-key to Fascist Foreign Policy. Italy breaks with the Central 

T he sequence of events leading to Italy’s interven- 
tion in the Great War on the side of the Allies and 
not on the side of the Central Powers (despite the 
Triple Alliance bond) has twofold importance in any 
study of the Fascist movement. . In the first place it 
allows uSj as already hinted, to see how the prospect 
of the war brought into acute prominence the two 
streams of Nationalism and Socialism, and laid the 
foxmdation of their unity in Fascism under Mussolini. 
In the second place it presents for the contemplation 
of the student a series of diplomatic acts and agree- 
ments destined to have strong reactions on Italy’s 
post-war poHcy both before and after the advent of 
Mussolini to power — ^reactions which have still a 
dominating influence on foreign affairs. 

The alliance of Italy to Germany and Austria has 
been described in Chapter III. together with the inci- 
dents which weakened the Italo-Austrian link. When 
Austria-Hungary sent its ultimatum to Serbia after the 
assassination of the Archdxike Francis Ferdinand at 
Serajevo in June 1914 and moved in arms against 
Belgrade, neither the Austro-Hungarian nor German 
Governments consulted or advised their ally Italy 



concerning these movements. In this, the Central 
Powers violated the First Article of the Triple Alliance 
Treaty which pledged the signatory Powers to an ex- 
change of ideas “ on all political and economic ques- 
tions which might arise between or among them and 
any other nations.” 

The only reasonable explanation of this apparent 
blunder of Berlin-Vienna diplomacy (apart from a 
short-sighted disregard, it would seem, of Italy as a 
trusted and fighting force) lay in the knowledge that 
any disturbance of the Balkan status quo would be 
diametrically at variance with Italian foreign policy. 
Italy’s interests were therefore coolly ignored before 
the major importance of what was the fixst step in the 
Germanic Mittel-Europa drive to connect Germany 
with the trade outlets of Mesopotamia and the East, 

Austria on the other hand, by being an aggressor 
in this opening move against Serbia, saved Italy (also 
according to the treaty conditions) any obligation of 
joining up with the Austrian troops in their initial act 
of aggression. But there was another Article in the 
Triple Alliance Treaty which provided for just such 
a contingency as the action of Austria had created. 
This was the famous Article VII. 

According to this Article the signatory Powers 
pledged themselves to prevent all territorial changes 
which might be disadvantageous to one or other of 
them, and to this end they engaged to exchange all 
information calculated to enlighten each other of their 
own intentions and those of other Powers. But if the 
maintenance of the territorial status quo in the Balkans, 
the Ottoman coasts, the Adriatic and Aegean islands 
became impossible and a temporary or permanent 
occupation were made by Austria-Hungary or Italy, 



such occupation, it was stipulated, could only take 
place after previous agreement between the two 
Powers — an agreement which had to be based on the 
principle of compensation for all territorial advantages 
that either of them might gain. 

It can be seen therefore that the conditions imder 
which Austria invaded Serbia in 1914 not only auto- 
matically left Italy neutral but entitled her to com- 

On August I Germany declared war on France. 
On August 4 Britain declared war on Germany. On 
August 2 Italy informed Austria-Hungary that in the 
terms of the Triple Alliance Treaty a casus foederis had 
not arisen and that accordingly Italy proclaimed 
neutrality — a declaration which gave the Entente im- 
mediate control of the Mediterranean and enabled 
France to utilise elsewhere the troops assembled on her 
Eastern frontier. 

Italy’s neutrality however did not mean that she 
had broken away from the Triple Alliance ; negotia- 
tions were at once opened with Vienna for the settle- 
ment of the compensation claim under Article VIL of 
the Treaty — the price of her neutrality. 

The negotiations continued until April 8, 1915, 
when Italy postulated her demands. These included 
the re-establishment of the Alpine frontier fixed by 
Napoleon in 1811 — a frontier which passes roughly 
east and west at a point between Bolzano and Merano ; 
the cession of Venezia Giulia with a frontier line ending 
before the inclusion of Trieste ; the city of Trieste to 
be a free city ; the cession of certain Dalmatian coast 
islands ; recognition of Italian sovereignty at Vallona 
in Albania ; abandonment of Austro-Hungarian in- 
terests in Albania ; an amnesty for all political and 



military prisoners ; payment by Italy to Austria- 
Hungary of 200,000,000 gold Italian lire as com- 
pensation for fiscal loss ; and as a sine qua non, the 
immediate completion of all the above conditions. 

Austria-Hungary on April i6, 1915, refused aU these 
conditions, and offered as her limit the. cession of a 
section of the Southern Tyrol from shghtly north of 
Trent, conditional recognition of Italian rights in the 
Dodecanese islands, submission of the compensation 
figure to the Hague Tribunal, all to be post-war 

Italy was then faced with a choice of three decisions, 
all equally grave for her peace and future. She had 
either to knuckle down to Austria-Hungary’s com- 
paratively meagre offer and forego her traditional 
national aspirations ; or not to accept and yet remain 
neutral — an easy prey for a probably vindictive Ger- 
mano-Austrian Empire in the event of a Central 
Powers* victory ; or join the Entente Allies for a bid 
by force of arms. 

The Entente was only too eager to have Italy join 
them in the encirclement of Germany and to that end 
Italy was offered the realisation of all her aspirations, 
and more. Italy chose that solution. Based on a 
Memorandum signed by Britain, France, Russia and 
Italy, a secret treaty — the 1915 Treaty of London — 
was concluded. 

lit may perhaps be thought — what have all these 
pre-war Government negotiations and this Treaty of 
London got to do with the history of Fascism ? The 
answer is this. The progress of the negotiations with 
Austria-Hungary roused Italian public feelings to a 
pitch which imposed nationeil sentiment on Parliament 
and created a new condition of mind which was to 



have renewed expression seven years later on the 
Fascist march on Rome — a state of mind fomented, as 
we shall see later, by the very elements which were 
summed up in Mussolini’s first speech as a Deputy in 
1921 and which in 1922 were crystallized in the first 
Fascist Government. As soon as MussoUni assumed 
power as Prime Minister and Foreign Minister he 
made the Treaty of London the touchstone of Italy’s 
relations with France.» And to this day it remains the 
touchstone. It is one of the master-keys to a study of 
contemporary Fascist foreign policy. The Treaty of 
London is therefore so very relevant to the history and 
understanding of Fascism that I make no apology for 
citing here at some length its salient points — and for 
inviting the reader’s particular attention thereto. 

In return for Italy “ undertaking to conduct the 
war with all means at her disposal ” as an ally of 
France, Great Britain and Russia, these three Powers 
engaged that “ by the future treaty of peace ” Italy 
would receive a northern frontier at its “ natural and 
geographical ” limits at the Brenner ; the county of 
Gorizia and Gradisca on the north-east ; the city of 
Trieste and its surroundings ; the Istrian peninsula 
and islands ; the Province of Dalmatia from Lissarika 
to Gape Planka with aU shoreward valleys and practi- 
cally all the islands fronting that stretch of coast ; full 
ownership of Vallona in Albania with sufficient terri- 
tory for military protection ; the right to conduct the 
foreign affairs of Albania ; confirmed possession of the 
Dodecanese ; recognition “ as an axiom ” of the fact 
that Italy is interested in maintaining the political 
balance of power in the Mediterranean ; the right to 
occupy AdaJia in Asiatic Turkey ; recognition of all 
Italy’s claims to all those rights and prerogatives in 



Libya, North Africa, hitherto reserved to the Sultan 
of Turkey by the Treaty of Lausanne ; recognition in 
principle of the right of demanding for herself certain 
compensations in the form of an extension of her 
African possessions in Eritrea, Somaliland, Libya and 
the colonial districts bordering on French and British 
colonies in the event of an extension of French and 
British colonial possessions in Africa “ at the expense 
of Germany ” ; facilitation by Britain of an immediate 
favourable loan of not less than ^^50, 000,000. 

The same Treaty also stipulated that the Adriatic 
coast from the gulf of Volosca down to the northern 
frontier of Dalmatia ; the whole coast of Croatia and 
the port of Fiume and adjacent islands ; the whole 
coast from Cape Planka to the river Driu, with ports 
and islands, would be reserved for inclusion “ in the 
territory of Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro.” A 
section of the coast was also “ neutralised.” 

The above binding Memorandum was signed by all 
the four Powers concerned on April 26, 1915. Forti- 
fied with this secret treaty — ^like an invisible cloak of 
mail — Italy got busy. On May 3, 1915, she intimated 
to Austria-Hungary her rejection of their April 16 
offer ; pronounced that it was obviously useless to 
continue with the violated Triple Alliance Treaty ; 
annulled it accordingly and proclaimed her complete 
liberty of action from then onwards. 

On May 23, 1915, on the side of the Allies Italy de- 
clared war on Austria-Hungary. On August 21,1915, 
she declared war on Turkey, and in less than two 
months later against Bulgaria. It was not until 
August 28, 1916, that Italy declared war against 

(In connection with this chapter see maps 2 and 3.) 



Nationalist Propaganda. Mussolini and fVar. Intervention Demands. 
Mussolini Expelled from Socialist Party. The “ Popolo dTtalia.” The 
Fight against Neutrality. Corradini and Corridoni, D'Annunzio’s 
Magical Oratory. Italy Declares War. 

W HEN the Great War ultimatums were flashing 
across Europe and the nations were mobilising 
for the terrible conflict, the Italian Nationalists 
wanted their country to go to war at once. It would 
appear that it was the psychological effects of war that 
they sought rather than the pursuit of any particular 
foreign policy. The Nationalist party first wanted 
the Government to fight against the Allies. Then they 
swung round very quickly and became openly in 
favour of casting aside the Triple Alliance ties and 
declaring war on Austria. Anything, in short, but 
neutrality. The great influence of Giolitti however 
was brought to bear on the Centre parties who were 
in office, and the whole weight of his support and 
all his activities were in favour of neutrality. But in 
face of the colossal foreign affairs crisis which was 
shaking Europe to its foundations Giolitti still revealed 
his Chamber mentality, not reckoning the rising tide 
of national feeling. After the Government, sensing 
the country’s mood, had broken with Austria and 
made a pact with the Entente as above described, 
Giolitti was accused of plotting for the fall of the 
Cabinet (Salandra was Premier) in order to facilitate 



the acceptance of desperate offers from Berlin as the 
price of neutrality. 

The revelation of his declaration that Italy could 
obtain “ a good deal ” from Austria without fighting 
led to the complete collapse of his veiled dictatorship. 
He abandoned Rome, the most reviled man in Italy — 
for the moment. 

It was the Nationalist Party which had aroused this 
storm of public opinion : but it was a Nationalist 
Party accompanied by strange allies — the ultra- 
Socialists of Mussolini. After a first short phase of 
neutrality — before the immensity of the impending 
world conflagration could be visualised and before its 
reactions on world Socialism could be computed — 
Mussolini realised that Italy must fight or be swamped. 
In war he also saw the creation of a state of things 
which, he thought, would make realisable the great 
social insurrection which had failed him in the Red 
days earlier in 1914. “ Today is the war,” he cried, 
“ tomorrow the revolution.” 

The emergence of Italy from a war which would 
blast society to its roots would mark the moment 
for a proletarian revolution for the reorganisation of 
the State. With such arguments Mussolini in his 
Socialist writings called the Socialists to arms — “Today 
history is made in the trenches, tomorrow we will 
make it in the streets.” Behind this was sheer 
patriotism — a patriotism revealed in such phrases as 
“ The question ought to be looked at, remembering 
to be a Socialist, but also, and above all, remembering 
to be an Italian.” Other similar indications from 
Mussolini in the Avanti are : “ If war is revolutionary, 
every good revolutionist ought to take part ” j and 
“ Are Nationalism and Glass two opposite conceits ? 


Let us rather see if it isn’t possible to find a basis of 
conciliation' in the Nation, which is an historic reality, 
and Glass, which is a living reality.” The expression 
of these and similar arguments led to his dismissal as 
Editor of the Avanti, but at once, on November 15, 
1914, he founded the Popolo Italia for the dissemina- 
tion of his propaganda. 

His aim now became to effect that conciliation of 
Nation and Class, and to reach it through a Republican 
revolution after the war had rescued the Italian 
minorities under Austrian rule and had welded Italian 
unity in the crucible of war. The idea of any con- 
cihation of the classes on no matter how revolutionary 
a basis, together with the idea of intervention in the 
war, was anathema to the Socialists, and so on Novem- 
ber 24, 1914, MussoHni was expelled from the Socialist 

The motion of expulsion reads : “ This assembly, 
in face of the manifest violation of Party discipline 
committed by Benito Mussolini with the publication 
of the Popolo d’ Italia and with his writings in opposition 
to the deliberations of the Party, maintains any dis- 
cussion superfluous, orders his expulsion forthwith, 
and warns his followers. Long live Socialism ! Down 
with the War 1 ” 

In next day’s Popolo d’ltalia Mussolini wrote these 
prophetic words : “I will have my revenge later on. 
Those people who expelled me have me in their blood 
and love me. They have demolished me because they 
have not understood me. They will yet say to me : 

‘ You were a pioneer and a precursor ! ’ That will be 
by revenge ; but it will also be my justice.” 

Within ten days there had been founded the “ Fascio 
of Revolutionary Action ” for the pushing of interven- 


tion. Its immediate objective was to carry its banner 
to the parties of the Left — to the Republicans, Social- 
ists, Anarchists and Syndicalists, By January 25 
there were 50 Fasci (group centres) with a total mem- 
bership of 5000. By February there were 105 Fasci 
with 9000 members, and the movement had become 
known as “ Fascista” 

From Austria a piteous cry was raised by the Italian 
minorities, pressed into service in armies hostile to 
Italy. “ Sixty years of waiting and of martyrdom 
under Austria has been enough,” wrote the irredentist 
leader Cesare Battisti, “ Our cry is a cry of despair.” 
Mussolini who, it will be remembered, had worked and 
laboured with Battisti, heard that cry — and irreden- 
tism became the leading passion of the Fascio of Revol- 
utionary Action, just as it was the leading passion of 
the Nationalists. 

The fortunes of these two extreme parties of Left and 
Right were linked in irredentism as a cause for war. 
The orators of both parties began to find themselves 
on the same platforms, in the same piazzas ; and ac- 
cordingly there was noticeable a growing humanitar- 
ianism in the arguments of the Nationalists, and a 
growing nationalism in the outlook of the Fascio 
revolutionaries. There was no pact whatsoever be- 
tween them, but nevertheless each was strongly in- 
fluenced and tempered by the other. Their campaign 
made rapid progress. 

As well as the shouting vanguard which wanted to 
rush headlong to war as the saviours of the Italian 
minorities, the main body of the Italian populace 
moved with gathering momentum in favour of inter- 
vention. The Neutralists under Giolitti tried to stop 
this movement by bringing into play all the many 


manoeuvres of which they were capable — arrests — 
that of Mussolini among them — sequestrations, corri- 
dor bargains and the creation of Cabinet crises. But 
in this case they found that they were dealing with the 
Itahan people not as a ballot box but as a nation. 

The Centre parties in the industrial north had long 
hesitated in favour of neutrality, because they saw that 
hostilities against Austria must eventually mean hos- 
tilities against Germany — a nation with whom their 
business interests were very deeply involved. Austria 
and the Austrians were hated, but not so Germany and 
Germans. Germany was disliked by the more analy- 
tical among Italian thinkers in a vague way, for it was 
felt that German business influence was becoming an 
incubus. Germans as individuals on the other hand 
were admired and Uked. It nevertheless became 
patent that, with continued neutrality, a day of reck- 
oning would come for Italy. Men of the Centre, like 
Professor Salvemini, vigorously pointed' out these 
home-truths, with such expressions as “ Don’t let us 
deceive ourselves. If this war ends with the downfall 
of the Entente Powers, the neutral States no less than 
the conquered will fall under the yoke of the victors. 
The Austro-Germanic bloe, after its victory, will have 
no need to assault Italy in order to enforce servitude. 
It wiU be enough for them to command — and we 
to obey.” 

On the same argument Mussolini wrote in the 
Popolo d’ltalia : “ If neutrality continues, Italy to- 
morrow will be a nation abject and accursed : a 
nation condemned without autonomy and without 
future. The barrel-organ man, the boarding-house 
keeper and the shoeblack will continue to represent 
Italy in the world ; and the world of the living will 



once more give us a little compassion and much dis- 
dain ; we will be a country conquered without fight- 
ing for ourselves, dead before born.” 

Just as the revolutionary interventionists thus began 
to encompass the outlook of the Centre, so did the 
Centre begin to encompass the outlook of the National- 
ists and revolutionary irredentists. “ I have never 
been an irredentist,” wrote Professor Salvemini in 
War and Neutrality, “ but we must repair the error of 
1866 and complete the work of unification and of 
national consolidation — and the time is now or never. 
We do not wish the present European crisis to close 
without the annexation of the Trentino and Venezia 
Giulia to Italy.” These quotations are a few out of 
hundreds that could be made to reveal the awakening 
of militant national consciousness — a consciousness 
which swept parliamentarianism of the old school to 
one side and paved the way for the acceptance of the 
Fascist idea. 

Prominent among the figures specially emblematic 
of this new spirit of patriotic loyalty were two men 
of very different schools — ^Enrico Corradini, founder 
of the Nationalist Party, and Filippo Corridoni, Syndi- 
calist agitator. The quahty common to them both was 
an unbounded love of Italy and the Italian people, 
together with a burning faith in the restoration of their 
cormtry’s greatness. The intervention campaign 
brought the full and passionate dedication of their 
talents to the one cause. Both were forerunners of 
Fascism and as such are highly honoured in the Val- 
halla of the party. Corridoni died in the trenches, 
Corradini lived to see the post-war birth of Fascism 
and was largely responsible for the official fusion of the 
Nationalist and Fascist parties in 1923. The spirit of 


these two men, it might be said, entered into Mussolini 
and there had their final and their full expression. He 
made their vision live. 

Into this ferment of thought stepped the poet 
D’Annunzio. In May 1915 he arrived in Rome. His 
oratory roused the people to ecstatic heights. Demon- 
strations in favour of going to war swept the country, 
and Prime Minister Salandra’s war ultimatum to 
Vienna in the same month had the spiritual bulk of 
Italy behind it, — but it left the Giolittian neutralists 
and the orthodox Socialists fuU liberty to embarrass 
the course of Italian arms and to hinder victory. In 
the name of the principles of Liberal government a 
defeatist minority was left free to exercise its man- 
oeuvres and pursue its propaganda in the Chamber, 
in the country and even in the trenches. 




“ To die is not enough.” 



Foes at the Front and Foes in the Chamber. Untiring Defeatist Propa- 
ganda. First Effects of Russian Revolution. The Turin Tumults. 
Effect of Common Sacrifices at the Front. Country before Party. 

D uring the Great War Italy had two sets of enemies 
to fight ; those who faced them in the trenches 
at the front and those who tried, in and out of Parlia- 
ment, to make Italy’s intervention in the war in- 

The defeat of Giolitti’s neutralist endeavours was to 
prove a factor of extreme importance for the future of 
Italy, not because he was defeated but because he had 
used the Chamber and his command of the party 
system as his weapons — ^and it was popular feeling 
which overthrew his campaign. It was a moment in 
which Itahans realised that Parliament did not, and 
did not want to, represent them. In face of the 
tremendous issues of neutrality or war Giolitti’s parlia- 
mentary machine had broken down : popular will, in 
its real democratic sense, prevailed. 

As soon as Italy entered into the war, GioUtti re- 
tired to his country place in Piedmont as if his coun- 
try’s great decision had been a petty personal quarrel 
with himself. Deprived of their real head and master, 
the elements of the Centre and Left parties broke up — 
many of them renouncing their Giolittian ways and 
joining the growing parliamentary majority under the 
premiership of the National-Liberal Salandxa. Never- 

5 ^ 


theless, the other elements of the old parties continued 
in the Chamber to baulk the Government’s war policy 
and measures — behaviour which surely amounted to 
betrayal of the soldiers bearing the actual tribulations 
of conflict. 

While the Centre bloc weakened with Giolitti’s ab- 
sence, the orthodox Socialist Party grew stronger and 
more bold. Apart from such drastic and dramatic 
assertions of his constitutionalism as the shooting down 
of strikers at Cerignola, Candela, Gastelluzzo and else- 
where, Giolitti had minimised Socialist opposition by 
a discreet distribution of measures in their favour. His 
removal caused a more solid re-affirmation of SociaHst 
principles inside and out of Parliament. 

Another factor which favoured the initial growth of 
defeatist propaganda was the absence of its hardiest 
opponents — the Nationalist leaders, the Mussolini 
revolutionaries, and the tens of thousands of young 
volunteers who had answered the cry of mihtant 
patriotism. All these ardent interventionists were at 
the front, practising what they had preached. And 
so, in a sense, the Socialists and the pro-Germans had 
things their own way for the development of an insi- 
dious propaganda against prevailing general feeling. 

It must be noted that pro-Germanism in Italy did 
not, and for good reason, have the same stigma 
attached to the term as in Britain. As I have already 
shown, Italy’s grievance against Germany was subtle 
and indirect. It had nothing in it to inflame the 
popular mind. There were many interests which had 
benefited from German co-operation. This condition 
of mind was taken full advantage of by the Socialists 
and other defeatists on the parliamentary and con- 
stituency fronts. 



Many Socialists however — ^without identifying them- 
selves with the Mussolini group — chose for war when 
once the die had been cast, and distinguished them- 
selves as patriots in giving support to the Cabinet or 
on the field. In fact it was a Socialist deputy, 
Bissolati, who consolidated the interventionists in the 
Chamber ; but thirty-six deputies of the official 
Socialist Party sat in the Chamber in organised hos- 
tility to their country’s endeavour. Backing them 
were the great organs of the Giolitti press, such as the 
Stampa of Turin and the Tribuna of Rome. In Italy 
there was therefore lacking that single-purpose action 
which Britain had at once secured by the establish- 
ment of a Coalition Government. 

A partial break-through on the Trendno front 
caused a Cabinet crisis, which was resolved by nomin- 
ating the seventy-eight-year-old deputy, BoseUi, as 
successor to Salandra. He represented no party and 
so he was considered just the kind of man wanted to 
rule a Cabinet representative of all parties. Although 
a negative solution, it meant the creation of what 
amounted to a national Cabinet. It was this 
Cabinet which eased Allied doubts by declaring war 
on Germany. 

The greatest trials on the “ home front ” were how- 
ever yet to come. After a second severe winter in the 
Alpine trenches, the disaster of Gaporetto gave new 
heart to the defeatists. The effects of the Russian 
Revolution began to be felt. Russian-Socialist mani- 
festoes calling on the Italian troops to lay down their 
arms were showered from Austrian aeroplanes over 
the war areas, and the Socialists openly redoubled 
their anti-war campaign. The shock of Caporetto, 
however, had a lively effect on the people. The 



danger wakened a national feeling which was ex- 
pressed in united action. A new line of defence was 
established on the Piave, a new coramander-in- 
chief, General Diaz, took charge of the Armies, the 
fighting forces were reorganised. 

Nevertheless the opponents of the war never ceased 
their attacks. From the Socialist benches there rose 
the continuous chant, “ Not another vdnter of war.” 
In co-operation with the Russian Socialists an exten- 
sive anti-war programme was carried out all over the 
country. The people were told that they were being 
fooled. Agitation in some centres broke out into 
tumults. Anti-war rioters in Turin induced the 
workers in the ammunition factories to come out on 
strike, and the electric current for the leading -engin- 
eering shops was cut off. On August 24 troops inter- 
vened and the attempts to sabotage Italy’s war effort 
were stemmed. Efforts were made to set up Soldiers’ 
and Workers’ Councils. 

Another thing which did little to help matters was 
the deliberate misinterpretation of the spirit of the 
appeal for peace launched by Pope Benedict XV, 
Taken up by the Clerical Press and misused by all 
the political elements hostile to Italy’s participation 
in the war, the Pope’s appeal was twisted into a 
defeatist influence. The Austrian planes, which had 
been dropping down bombs and Sociahst leaflets, 
changed the latter for copies of the Pope’s peace 
appeal, while however still continuing with the bombs. 

To fortifiy the Government, leaders of all the parties 
were convened. Giolitti returned from his retirement 
and gave his help, if not his goodwfll, to the work of 
winning the war. A new Cabinet was formed under 
the Democratic-Liberal Orlando. The newspapers 



dubbed this the “ Fascio Ministry”; but of course 
the term was used in its limited sense of a Ministry 
bound together, and had nothing to do with the so far 
unborn Fascist idea or Party. 

The Italian people withstood all the political on- 
slaughts of the Socialists, pacifists and enemy agents 
who so persistently and unsleepingly attacked the 
nation’s moral. By the spring of 1918 the new com- 
mander-in-chief had repelled a great Austrian offen- 
sive, and in autumn the Italian army began its counter- 
offensive which ended in the sweeping victory of 
Vittorio Veneto. The Austrian forces were destroyed 
or captured, and on November i Italy dictated its 
armistice terms. 

What I have tried to bring out in this chapter is a 
twofold factor : (i) The Italian victory was gained 
despite unbroken war-opposition activity which had 
sometimes great strength and influence even in the 
Chamber ; and (2) it was public feeling which influ- 
enced Parliament and not Parliament which influ- 
enced public feeling. 

This latter point is of considerable importance as in- 
dicating the decline of public complacency in political 
manipiilation. It marked a starting-point of popular 
assertion against the democratic system which had 
become debased on account of the reasons traced in 
earlier chapters of this book. The national mind was 
being, as it were, prepared to appreciate the principles 
which later, under great post-war provocations, found 
expression in Fascism. 

As well as this, however, there were other influences — 
great positive influences, which moved the country 
during the war towards new ideals which indeed be- 
came Blackshirt ideals. These influences were bom, 



not among the politicians and the parties, but on the 
battlefronts. The difficulties of terrain and climate 
which the Italian armies overcame demanded an ex- 
traordinary degree of personal sacrifice on the part of 
the troops. The knowledge of this common sacrifice 
acted as a new-found bond among the soldiers drawn 
from all parts of the peninsula — ^parts whose interest 
had heretofore been considered antagonistic and com- 
petitive one to another. «It is not too much to say that 
the aspirations of Italian national unity symbolised in 
the Risorgimento had their completion in the trenches 
against Austria in the Great War. The war proved a 
supreme endeavour which demanded, and got, union 
among the troops in action. Their tasks and achieve- 
ments raised their vision high above Parliament and 
Party. They beheld only Italia, 




Difficulties of Terrain. Some Battle Figures. Interventionists in 
Action. Baitisti Strangled. Corridoni Killed. Marinetti, d’Annunzio, 
Mussolini Wounded. Spirit of Fascism. 

L et us try to reconstruct in a simple visual way the 
strategic handicaps confronted by Italian arms. 
The terrain favoured Germany and Austria. The 
extensive, low-lying, northern Veneto plain is 
bounded on the north, east and west by mountains 
and is intersected by three rivers, the Piave, Taglia- 
mento and the Isonzo, which flow southward. The 
rivers are, very approximately, parallel in their level 
courses across the plain. The Trentino wedge of 
Alpine moimtains, penetrating south, forms the north- 
western wall of this amphitheatre of war. The plain 
at its eastern end finishes abruptly against the steep 
barrier-face of the Carso plateau. Map Number Two, 
inside the covers of this book, while intended to dis- 
play the frontier positions, includes the principle place- 
names of the war zone. 

Austria’s pre-war frontier sliced the eastern sector of 
the Veneto plain and on the north and north-west it in- 
cluded the southern foothills of the Trentino salient. 
In both areas the Austrian line lay well within the 
Italian side of the gateway mountain barriers ; but 
when war was declared Austria withdrew to heavily 
fortified defensive positions on the precipitous face of 
the Carso and seized the Trentino passes into Italy. 



Italy’s 1915-16 actions consisted in carrying by 
assault the Carso positions while at the same time 
holding in check Austrian advances from the Trentino, 
where a break-through would have caught the Italian 
armies like nut-crackers. 

It is not my intention to do more than recall the 
phases of the war on these fronts. “ It is in the 
trenches that the roots of Italy’s new-found glory 
are to be found ” — I had often heard this phrase 
and others similar during the last eleven years of 
Fascism and had indeed paid very little attention to 
such utterances, thinking them more or less picturesque 
propaganda slogans. A visit to the scene of the Itahan 
war zones opened my eyes to what the Italian soldiers 
had accomplished. 

I confess I was amazed when I looked on the bul- 
warks of the Carso. These heights are nothing but 
broken, jagged rock — like the Krithia gullies of Cape 
Helles at Gallipoli, but mountainous, and with a 
series of rugged abutments each as large as the 
frontage of the Somme. It could be seen how every 
hill captured was at once open to flanking fire from 
adjacent hills. The Italian concentration positions 
on the plain were overlooked like a chessboard. The 
Carso IMs range about 800 to 2000 feet in height with 
a frontage to the Veneto plain descending in cliffs 
and ravines. 

These positions were stormed, captured and held 
until October 1917, when the Austrian break-through 
further north at Gaporetto necessitated a complete 
abandonment of the hard-won Carso, and a total 
retirement to prevent the isolation of the Carso 
armies. With lateral communications and any con- 
tact impracticable on account of the topographical 


character of the land as above described, and with the 
lines of retreat confined to bottle-neck passes which in 
turn debouched on to the exposed Veneto plain, there 
is no wonder that the retreat took on the characteris- 
tics of a rout, because no rearguard action on any 
extensive scale was possible until the troops were 
clear of the mountains and the naked plain. 

The miracle to me is that the forces were so rapidly 
rallied and consolidated on a line of defence. Driven 
back to the line of the Piave river the Italians con- 
solidated there and held it, until in turn, at the final 
victory of Vittorio Veneto in October 1918, they 
routed the Austrians and regained possession of the 
Carso barrier and the plateau beyond it on the road 
to Trieste. And, of course, during all these phases 
they had to hold back the Austrians from over- 
whelming them in the rear through the passes of the 
Trentino Alpine salient. Most of the fighting was 
above the Alpine snow line. 

The principal 1916 Italian drive was through the 
town of Gorizia, which lies at the foot of a cup of hills 
with Mount San Michele and Mount Sabotino flank- 
ing and dominating it. These hills, rising steeply from 
sea-level, have been declared “ sacred zones ” by the 
Fascist Government. They have been preserved, like 
some of the British areas in France and Flanders, so as 
to allow visitors and “ war pilgrims ” to study and 
re-picture the war. 

The formidable Austrian defences high on top of 
the cliffs are revealed, Sabotino is hewn into galleries 
like Gibraltar, only much deeper. All trench positions 
are cut out of the living rock or made of boulders 
which stand today as when first blasted. Both 
Sabotino and San Michele were taken with the 



bayonet without preliminary bombardment and under 
flanking enemy fire. At the foot of this hill is the war 
cemetery of Redipuglia. It includes 30,000 of the 
Italian dead of all arms, eighty per cent of them un- 
identified, who fell in the initial capture of these hills 
and the Carso heights. 

Mussolini has ordered that the further 54,000 dead 
lying in small isolated graveyards scattered over the 
Carso front be gathered into one great monumental 
sanctuary also as part of Redipuglia. The remainder 
of Italy’s half-million dead is in military cemeteries 
back on the Piave unbroken line of resistance and on 
the Trentino Alpine front to the north-west. 

For the final drive of the war General Diaz, the 
commander-in-chief, had 57 divisions (51 Italian, 
3 British, 2 French and i Czechoslovak divisions 
and I American regiment) totalling 912,000 all 
ranks. Opposed to him were 63 Austro-German 
divisions totalling 1,070,000 all ranks, of whom 

300.000 were taken prisoners at Vittorio Veneto, 
in which 58 Austro-German divisions were engaged. 
In this final and conclusive action the Italians lost 

33.000 men. 

In all, Italy mobilised for the war 5,903,000 men. 
Of these, in the closing phases of the war, Italy had 

1.987.000 officers and men in the front-line Italian 
battle zones. In other war areas Italy had 50,000 
troops serving with the French armies in France ; 

96.000 in Albania and 49,000 in Macedonia. The 
Italian dead, through direct war causes, is calculated 
at 680,000 ; and the wounded at 1,050,000. -These 
arc aU factors very cognate to a study of the Fascist 
Revolution. They are figures frequently quoted by 
the Fascists in justification of Fascist policy^ 



While Parliament and people were conducting and 
suffering the war in face of an unsleeping defeatist 
minority, and while the soldiers were experiencing 
the bitter conflicts of which I have given a most sum- 
mary outline, there was gradually spreading over all 
Italy, as already indicated, a sense of unity such as 
mere legislation had never accomplished in the fifty 
odd years of the Kingdom’s existence. The regions of 
Italy became merged in their mingled blood. The 
common cause brought north and south into oneness 
of effort and sacrifice. The Risorgimento had pieced 
Italy together, but these pieces were fused into a whole 
in the furnace of war. This new feeling was caught 
in its rising tide by the men who had been prominent in 
the intervention campaign — and this national surge of 
patriotic sentiment they exploited by personal example. 

Cesare Battisti, Mussolini’s friend and inspirer of 
the irredentist Socialist days at Trento in 1909, left 
Austria to fight on the side of Italy. Captured at 
Monte Grappa in 1916 he was tried by Austrian court- 
martial, convicted of “ desertion ” and strangled at the 
stake. Today he is one of the most honoured martyrs 
of the Fascist calendar ; one of their most often in- 
voked symbols of patriotism. 

Marinetti the Futurist, who had been arrested along 
with Mussolini for intervention speeches at Milan, 
fought as a volunteer, was badly wounded and was 
twice decorated for valour. Corridoni, as already 
mentioned, was killed in action. The poet d’Anmm- 
zio served throughout the war and lost his right eye 
during an air flight after bombing Trieste, 

Gastellini, one of the Nationalist Party founders, was 
killed with Italian volunteer forces in France along 
with two of the sons of Garibaldi. 



Mussolini on the declaration of war left the Popolo 
(P Italia to become a private soldier of the 1884 class 
in the shock- troop Bersaglieri corps. In his “ letter 
of farewell ” to the Popolo d' Italia he wrote : “ When 
these words are before the eyes of our readers, I shall 
be beyond these wickedly drawn frontier lines which 
must be cancelled, because they are a peril and a 
shame too long endured. I do not need to tell you 
that I am happy. . . . The masses are sound. My 
feelings are therefore clear and optimistic. . . . But 
we — who are preparing to endure the hardships of 
winter in the trenches and are confronting the dangers 
of fighting men — do not wish to be stabbed in the 
back. Be therefore ever on the watch. We shall 
fight. Fight also you.” 

The fact that Mussolini served with a Bersagliere 
unit during the war had considerable influence years 
later when the Fascist March on Rome was being 
secretly organised. The history of the Bersagheri regi- 
ments is strongly identified with the Risorgimento 
struggles. As a corps it is passionately Monarchist. 

Mussolini took part in the Carso campaigns until 
February 1917, when he was wounded by a bursting 
trench-mortar. When picked up, lacerated and inert, 
and taken to the field dressing-station, it was found 
that there were forty-two fragments of metal embedded 
all over his body. After a slow and painful recovery 
Mussolini was invalided out of the army in May 1917, 
when he returned to the Popolo d’ Italia and the task of 
fighting the defeatists on the home fi'ont. 

In this chapter I have cited the names of those 
interventionists to whom reference has already been 
made in earlier chapters. They represent, numeri- 
cally, merely a few of the leading figures behind whom 


were ever-growing legions of followers. They formed 
a group which had great influence in the general 
ferment of the nation. The facts of war, even in their 
more exhausting and hopeless moments, were knitting 
Government and people more and more together ; 
but while this was an unconscious movement born of 
facing a common great peril, the old interventionist 
group strove by word and deed to make the nation 
conscious of its coherence. They voiced the country’s 
destiny. ‘That is why the same strange mixture of 
revolutionaries, poets and nationalists became the ex- 
ponents of latter-day Fascism. They were the people 
who did not forget* 

And in Mussolini’s “ War Diary,” among his simple 
record of the pastimes, thoughts and pains of soldiering 
in alternate relief zones and fire-steps amid Alpine 
winters, I there are the revealing flashes of thought 
which show that Fascism has its real roots deep down 
in the mud and blood of the trenches* 




The igj^ Secret Pact Affected by U.S. Entry in the JVar. The Succession 
States'. Greek Mix-up, Mew Russia. Turkish Spoils. Effect on 
Fascist Policy, 

D uring the progress of the war the 1915 Secret 
Pact of London and other inter- Allied pacts of the 
kind were adjusted and altered as the unforeseen cir- 
cumstances of the conflict veered and changed. The 
principal circumstances were (i) the entry of the 
United States of America into the world conflict, 
(2) the potential formation of succession States out of 
the land of the potentially defeated Central Powers, 
(3) the ambiguous position of Greece, (4) the collapse 
of the Czarist and the rise of revolutionary Russia ; 
and (5) the prospective defeat and dismemberment of 
the Turkish Empire. 

The alterations caused by these factors had consider- 
able influence on the diplomatic conditions on which 
the Peace Treaty delegates eventually based their 
projects during the Paris settlements of 1918-1919. 
They also affected the whole atmosphere of the Peace 
Conference. These influences were mostly to Italy’s 
disadvantage and they must here be taken into ac- 
count because it was this change of atmosphere which 
caused the first violent reaction of Musso lin i against 
the Allies when he created the Fascist movement. 

The new things introduced by the five above- 
mentioned considerations were, as far as they affected 


the course of Italy’s history, briefly, as follows : 

(i) The entry of the United States brought into Euro- 
pean diplomacy the Wilsonian watchword (or catch- 
word if you like) of self-determination. America joined 
the war with free hands and under the banner of the 
liberation of peoples. Secret treaties were ignored. 

(2) Serbia, as of the Allies and as a potential 
succession state, getting an inkling of what was to 
befall in the Adriatic under the secret 1915 arrange- 
ment, saw to it as early as 1917 that a way was opened 
to soften down the Treaty of London terms. The 
Pact of Corfu, signed in July 1917 between the 
Serbian Government and the “ Yugoslav Committee,” 
paved the way for the eventual formation of the King- 
dom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, otherwise Yugo- 
slavia — ^which was to be Italy’s new Adriatic neighbour 
in the place of Habsburg Austria. An Italo-Yugoslav 
agreement was thereafter worked out and signed in 
Rome, by which the Italian and Yugoslav delegates 
pledged themselves to settle all particular territorial 
controversies on the basis of the principles of nation- 
ality and the rights of the people to decide their own 
fate, in such manner as not to injure the vital interests 
of the two friendly nations — ^interests which were to 
be defined at the moment of peace. 

(3) The ambiguous position of Greece, jockeying 
about as half- foe and half-ally, and further jockeyed 
about in Lloyd Georgian diplomatic tangles in the 
Near East, eventually led to confusion between prom- 
ises made to Italy and also made to Greece. 

(4) The collapse of Czarist Russia and the rise of 
revolutionary Russia meant the replacement of the 
Imperial Benckendorflf who had signed the 1915 
Treaty of London by a Kerensky who repudiated die 

B 65 


secret diplomacy of the Czars : and Kerensky found 
the Allies tentatively anxious to bolster up his Men- 
chevist Russia against the growing Bolshevist storm- 

(5) The prospective dismemberment of the Turkish 
Empire was not envisaged in the 1915 Pact of London. 
It referred, it will be remembered, to the acquisition of 
territory “ at the expense of Germany.” France and 
Britain in 1916 adjusted this little matter between 
them, so that a partition of Turkish possessions was also 
understood. Italy intervened for her share in the 
spoil and in April 1917, as a derivation of the Anglo- 
French igrS Agreement, the Treaty of St.-Jean-de- 
Maurienne was signed. This treaty reserved the 
Smyrna-Adalia zones in Asia Minor to Italy, “ subject 
to Russia being allowed to express its opinion.” 

The five above factors are not — they cannot be — 
presented in any strict order of time or effect. They 
had repercussions on each other and they each caused 
repercussions on the Treaty of London, Italy’s vital 
document. Every item of Italian peace and foreign 
policy was affected by that in ter- Allied agreement. 





“ There is a continuity of history in 
those who fought and conquered in 
the trenches and those who made 
the March on Rome.” 




The Rise of Socialism. Cabinet Divisions. Strike Era Begins. Socialist- 
Communist Bloc Founded. Mussolini’s first Fascio Founded. Its 
Programme. Labour and ex-Servicemen. First Provincial Fasci. 
Consistency of First Economic and Foreign Policy with Policy To-day. 
The Fascist Objectives. 

I N the preceding chapter I have more than once 
written of the “ unity ” which Italy found in a 
hard-won victory, but that sense of unity had to suffer 
many blows in the aftermath of war before it became 
a dynamic post-war assertion. 

As soon as the Armistice lessened the national ten- 
sion, the Socialists, exalted by the clamorous tri- 
umphs of the Extreme Left in Russia, Germany, Htm- 
gary and Austria, redoubled their efforts to add Italy 
to the growing number of nations in Europe which 
were apparently rallying to the red flag of Internation- 
alism. The Italian Government — with its stability 
weakened by principles which allowed these subversive 
notions to take root and flourish, and with its authority 
compromised by the ties and obligations of party blocs 
— had neither the strength nor the necessary will to 
check this rising tide. 

Sergeant Mussolini, however, in his “War Diary” 
had noted in October 1915, “ Here at the front no one 
says, ‘ I am going back to my village ’ ; but instead, 
‘ I am going back to Italy.’ Italy thus appears, per- 
haps for the first time, in the conscience of so many of 
its sons as a single and living reality ; in short, as a 



Fatherland.” But the feelings created during the 
months following November 1918, by demobilisation 
delays, by wildfire Socialist propaganda, and by 
Governmental indifference caused the liberated 
soldiers to return to their Italy — but to the slogan 
of “ the factories to the workmen and the land to 
the peasants.” 

The discussions prior to the departure of the Italian 
delegates to the Paris Peace Conference led to divisions 
of opinion in the Cabinet and in the Chamber — divi- 
sions which were seized on and exaggerated by the 
Socialists with disturbing effect on the already shaken 
public mind. A sense of disillusionment spread with 
almost panic rapidity. From propaganda the Social- 
ists, fortified with support from Moscow, passed to 
action, and ex-soldiers found themselves being mobbed, 
and the era of strikes began. Against this rising and 
unchecked tide there were ranged only a few helpless 
people in the Government, some disorientated groups 
of ex-servicemen and the vigorous leading articles of 
the Popolo d’ltalia. Roimd this paper there rallied 
many of the same Futurist, Nationalist and d’Annun- 
zian elements which had united for the intervention 
campaign three years before. 

In February 1919 the Italian Unitarian Socialist 
Party concluded an alliance with a Red revolution 
bloc of the Left and the Russian Bolshevists. As a 
result the dominating Italian Communist Party was 
shortly afterwards founded. This event was cele- 
brated with a “ Red Day ” manifestation in Milan, 
when the Italian national tricolour flag was publicly 
tom down and insulted, the ex-servicemen execrated, 
evacuation of the redeemed frontier areas demanded, 
a proletarian mobilisation advocated and the imme- 


diate unconditional release of imprisoned deserters 
insisted upon. This demonstration, marked with 
tumult, was repeated in the other provincial capitals. 

On March 20, 1919, the Socialists ofl&cially pro- 
claimed that their programme was to lead the prole- 
tariat for the overthrow of capitalism and the estab- 
lishment of a Red regime. Four hundred thousand 
Reds thus revealed that they intended to assert their 
destructive will on the forty million people of Italy ; 
and Parliament revealed that it was, as a whole, un- 
able, and, in part, unwilling to prevent this imposi- 

Mussolini’s answer was to augment the written 
word by direct action. In a small hall beneath his 
lodgings in Piazza San Sepolcro, Milan, he convened 
a body of less than two hundred followers, an (3 on 
March 23, 1919, the first Fascio di Combattimento came 
into being. In name and idea it was a reinvocation 
of the interventionist Fascio whose work we have 
already described : but where it had been a combative 
unit for the furtherance of the continuity — albeit re- 
volutionary — of Italy’s Risorgimento war of national 
redemption from the foreigner, this time it was a 
fighting unit for the salvation of Italy from Italy itself. 

The party emblem depicted on the title-page of the 
first number of II Fascio, the original weekly organ of 
Mussolini’s Fascio di Combattimento, shows that the orig- 
inal /ojcio was not that of the Roman lictor’s rods, but 
the union-in-sLrength bundle of sticks immortalised 
by Aesop. The engraving on U Fascio is a hand grasp- 
ing a bunch of saplings. The immediate aim of 
these first Fascists is clearly stated in the programme 
drawn up at that historical meeting in the Piazza 
San Sepolcro. This programme — / Postulati dei 


Fasci per la Costituenie — ^includes the following main 
points : 

We wish : (the document runs) 

1. To rally all those who moved for intervention in the 
war and who, now that the war has been triumphantly won, 
feel called upon to prevent the sabotage of peace. 

2. To create Fascist centres which will send delegates to 
a great meeting of Italian interventionism. 

3. That that meeting be consecrated to the solution of the 
fundamental problems of our nation. 

4. Thatfrom that meeting there arise an anti-party, namely 
a Fascist organisation which will have nothing in common 
with the “credos” and “dogmas” or “mentality” or, 
above all, with the “ prejudices ” of the other parties. 

5. That this Constituent of Fascists be the prelude to a 
Constituent of the Italian People. The Fasci ought to be 
the framework enclosing the energies of the ex-servicemen. 
The old parties arc cadaverous relics and it should not be 
difficult to bury them entirely. 

To sum up : 

We do not present problems : we present solutions. 

We constitute the organ of agitation for the handling of 
these problems. 

We, if it be necessary, will convert the organ of agitation 
into an organ of action for the solution of given problems 
in a manner and in a style dictated by our wiU and by events. 

Long live the Fasci per la Costituente — and now to work 
without delay. 

2^rd November, igiQ. MUSSOLINI. 

Mussolini’s initial movement was among the work- 
ing-men of Italy. The demobilisation had poured 
tens of thousands of ex-servicemen on to the unpre- 
pared labour market. The labour organisations, 
while handicapping the employment of these men by 


the rigid application of trade-union rules, welcomed 
them to swell the numbers of organised revolt. In 
November 1918 Italian workmen were divided among 
three organisations : the Confederation of Work, the 
Italian Syndical Union and the Italian Union of Work. 
The Union of Work had been interventionist, but that 
expression of its pre-war patriotism became swamped 
under post-war disillusionment. In the Syndical 
Union the epoch of strikes which opened in 1919 be- 
came more and more political and less and less econo- 
mic. Differences concerning questions of pay and 
working-hours sunk to secondary importance as the 
Union concentrated its efforts towards inflaming the 
masses on purely political and social issues. 

Many of the first Constituent Fascists were Syndical- 
ists who had broken with their own Union ; but it was 
as ex-soldiers that the Fascists sought out their earher 
supporters. Nevertheless the presence of this revolu- 
tionary Syndicalist element was to prove a most im- 
portant factor in the development of the Fascist idea 
which now has its fulfilment in the Fascist State. The 
records of that first meeting reveal that the principles 
of a Corporative State were tentatively discussed and 
measures taken for the furtherance of the Syndicalist 
ideas of co-operation which now forms the national 
productive “ totalitarian ” basis of the established 

While Mussolini was making this effort to gather 
the ex-servicemen rovmd his newly erected emblem of 
the Fascia of unity, the Socialists, by the formation of 
Soldiers’ and Workers’ Councils, were making special 
endeavours to disintegrate the consolidarity which 
the fraternal spirit of the trenches had created through 
suffering and endurance among the troops fi:om ^ 



parts of the peninsula. It was the attack on the vic- 
tory and on the men who had achieved that victory 
which roused Mussolini as much as the social peril to 
which his country was being exposed. His exaspera- 
tion was heightened by the conviction that the Govern- 
ment and diplomats were preparing, under the excuse 
of Wilsonian patronage, to concede away that which 
had been so hardly won. His feelings are expressed 
in leaders in which, for instance, he writes ; “ We 
interventionists who took part in the war cry out — 

‘ Stand back you Socialist jackals, it is forbidden to 
divide the dead. They are not of Party but of Country 
and of Countries. They are humanity.’ We will 
defend our dead against all defamation. 

” Do not fear, O Glorious Spirits ; we will defend 
you even at the cost of digging trenches in the piazzas 
and streets of our cities.” Again, “ People who have 
fought for four years and have given victory to the 
world do not accept patrons and tutors. Let Wilson 
speak to America — ^where no one bothers about him 
any longer — instead of working off Ihs ignominious 
frauds on our blood.” When this was written Mr. 
Wilson had been enrolled as an honorary citizen of 

Other early documents which reveal the first ideas 
of the Fascists are to be found in the provincial arch- 
ives. They reveal a combination of Socialist and 
Nationalist programmes — ^but with a certain spiritual 
dedication of all endeavours to the vindication of the 
fallen and the co-operation of the classes under safe- 
guard. These were the essentially new things in the 
embryo movement. A typical example of this is seen 
in the manifesto issued in 1919 by the Fascio di Combatti- 
mento of Montepulciano in Tuscany. I choose this one 


for quotation because it shows how quickly the 
Fascist leaven began to influence semi-rural centres 
far removed from the direct personal influence of the 
Milan Fascia. The Montepulciano Fascia includes 
passages like these ; 

“ The Fascist ideal is germinated in the name of the dead 
and the wounded. We do not fight against those who work 
but against those who in the name of holy ideas sow hatred 
among the masses. We struggle against a parasite bour- 
geoisie, but we defend a productive bourgeoisie which pro- 
vides indispensable elements for the development and pro- 
gress of whatsoever regime. 

We wish the formation of a national technical council 
of work and industry, of transport, health, communications, 
etc., elected from the professional elements as a whole or of 
the masters, with legislative powers. The question of the 
regime is subordinate to the moral and material interests, 
present and future, of the nation gathered together in its 
reality and in its historical sequence. For this we are with- 
out prejudice for or against existing institutions. 

We wish a social legislation equipped with the necessities 
of those new demands, especially with regard to taking care 
of the disabled and old workmen, either agricultural, indus- 
trial or clerical ; representation of workers in the functioning 
of industry not limited to such things as concern the welfare 
of the personnel and the systematization, technical and moral, 
of the great public services. 

We wish the immediate coordination of aU those associa- 
tions of ex-soldiers and of war-wounded towards whom we 
and the country owe gratitude in an unmistakable and 
tangible form. 

We wish a strong taxation on capital of a progressive char- 
acter ; the revision of all war munition contracts and the 
sequestration of all war profits. 

For foreign affairs we demand : 

A. The Treaty of Versailles revised and modified in those 
parts which are obviously inapplicable, or whose application 



can be the foundation of formidable hatreds and new 

B. The effective application of the Treaty of London, 
the annexation of Fiume to Italy, and the care of Italians 
residing in the lands included in the Treaty of London. 

C. The gradual untying of Italy from the group of Western 
plutocratic nations, through the development of our pro- 
ductive international forces. 

D. The bringing together of the enemy nations — Austria, 
Germany, Bulgaria, Turkey, Hungary — but with an attach- 
ment of dignity and always taking into clear account the 
supreme necessities of our northern and oriental frontiers. 

E. The creation and intensification of friendly relations 
with all the peoples of the East, including the Governments 
of the Soviet and South-Eastern Europe. 

F. Revindication in regard to the colonies and the rights 
and necessities of the nation. 

These and similar initial indications of policy have 
their special interest when compared with the achieve- 
ments of today — achievements which are still consis- 
tent with such early guiding principles. Indeed the 
above quoted six pomts on Foreign Policy in 1919 
might have been written in Italy to-day. 

But the real work confronted by the San Sepolcro 
nucleus concerned action rather than thought, con- 
flict rather than contemplation. As already seen, 
their lines of attack radiated against several objectives. 
They ranged against : (i) the unconstitutional Social- 
ists and the Reds, (2) the Constitutional parties whose 
ineptitude had made the Red risings possible, (3) all 
international elements — ^Bolshevik, Socialist, Masonic 
and Clerical — whenever and wherever they impinged 
detrimentally on Italian affairs, and (4) the Peace 
Treaty delegates and policy, especially on the Fiume 
question. By a political anomaly, the Fascists at this 


phase of their evolution were, in the name of order, 
anti-constitutional, republican and revolutionary. 

We will now trace, in separate sections, the progress 
of these fourfold conflicts from the first San Sepolcro 
Fascist days of March 1919 until June 21, 1921, when 
Mussolini as a newly elected Deputy carried his war 
from the piazzas into the citadel of the Government. 




Red Terrorism. First Fascist Congress. Plans to Oppose Reds. Fascists 
and Anti-Red Groups. Mussolim stands for Parliament. Not Elected. 
Arrested Instead. Strike-ridden Italy. Factories Seized. Communists in 
Control. Inept Government. Pitched Battles. Giolitti back in Power. 
First Fascist Syndicate at Milan. Corporate Idea takes Root. The 
Communists and Socialists Split. Government against the Fascists. The 
Diana Massacre. Position in Alto Adige. New Elections. Thirty- 
three Fascists Returned. Mussolini Deputy. 

I F you turn up the principal newspaper files in Italy 
(except those of the Popolo d' Italia) for the year 1919 
you wiU find very little about Mussolini or Fascism. 
Instead you will read an unbroken record of Socialist 
violence, strikes, bombings, assaults and triumphant 
capturings of factories and municipalities. As a kind 
of indeterminate obbligato to the strident news of 
Red doings you will find endless parliamentary de- 
bates, “ scenes in the Chamber ” and electioneering 
manoeuvres. In short you wiU find a state of affairs 
which makes it seem miraculous that Fascism could live 
at all. But if you carefuUy trace the records you wiU 
discover with what extraordinary courage, determina- 
ation and sacrifice the Fascists graduaUy began to stay 
and then to dominate the sweeping tides. Their ulti- 
mate success proves that Mussolini was right in his war- 
time recognition that Italy was at last indeed imited ; 
but it required his leadership and inspiration to make 
people realise it whoUy for Aemselves. 

■ffhe rapid growth of his movement in face of the 
merciless forces of disintegration seems to justify 



the claim that he was Italy’s man of destiny whose 
highest achievement was the revelation of Italy 
to herself. The reconstruction of Italy under his 
genius during the last established decade of his regime 
was a great work, but no matter how colossal, how 
unique in the annals of governmental administration, 
his essential contribution to Italy was that vital spark 
which he struck among his first followers in 1 9 1 9 . The 
tremendous odds could not quench it. In travail it 
shone brighter. Its light spread in the fury of the 
combat against it. And all because it reflected the 
united national conscience which Mussolini had 
divined before Italia had really divined it herself, 

The Socialists used terrorism as one of their principal 
means of persuasion. The spring of 1919 was marked 
by a general strike with conflicts and incidents aU over 
Italy. This strike was the answer of the Reds to the 
Government because the Cabinet had forbidden pub- 
lic manifestations in honour of Lenin. During all 
summer there were clashes between the Reds and the 
police — with the inevitable strikes of protest. Shops 
were pillaged in Milan, Turin, Bari, Messina, Genoa, 
Pisa, Naples, Verona, Perugia and Florence. 

In July 1919 a Socialist Republic was declared in 
several centres, notably in the valleys near Bisenzio. 
After considerable bloodshed the insurgents were 
bought off by an imposed 50 per cent reduction 
of food retail prices. The revocation of this im- 
economic concession, shortly afterwards, started new 

In August the Anarchists began to add systematic 
bomb-throwing and dynamiting to the general Red 
endeavour. Bombs were thrown in theatres. Help- 
less theatre audiences were to become a favourite 



target. In the midst of Red propaganda for an am- 
nesty for war deserters, the Italian army was demobil- 
ised. In September this amnesty was given and the 
released deserters were, on demand, granted practi- 
cally all the same rights as the loyal ex-combatants. 

Gathering together the tiny Fascist units which had 
intimated adherence to the San Sepolcro Constituent, 
Mussolini in October 1919 presided over the first 
Fascist Congress, when he outlined a plan of action to 
purge the country of the Reds, to enforce order 
and to justify the ex-soldier, the dead and the victory. 
This congress was held in Florence. One hundred and 
forty-eight Fasci centres were represented and it 
was announced that sixty-eight more Fasci were in 
course of being formed. The delegates represented 
some 45,000 inscribed members. Every Fascio sent 
five delegates. The Reds assailed it and the congress 
ended in a revolver fight. 

This congress was timed for the beginning of a 
general election campaign when Fascism had to put 
into practice the resolutions for unity passed by the 
delegates. The tendency was to mobilise all the in- 
tervention forces of the Left, but the attitude of the 
Republicans and Masons made this impossible, as some 
also had controlling interests in the interventionist asso- 
ciations of the Right. The Mussolini F ascists included 
partial expropriation of capital in their programme 
— a project aimed at the war profiteers and the great 
banks, which were more concerned with speculative 
industry than with banking. This part of the Fascist 
programme, however, drove a wedge between the inter- 
ventionists of Left and Right. The difficulty was the 
distinction between interventionists as such and as 
members of political groups. There were anti-Com- 

1 ascists enteiint^ Ftiiaia aft( i its capture fiom the Reds At tht head of 
the squadnsti column is Balbo and Grancli 


munist Socialists who had come over to Fascism but 
were nevertheless hostile to the Fiume and Dalmatian 
claims inscribed on the Fascist banners. 

An attempt was made to form a bloc with a powerful 
association known as the Union of the DemobiUsed, 
but this fell through. The Fascists stood alone, the 
Demobilised putting up their list of parliamentary 
candidates under the insignia of a steel helmet — a 
forerunner of the Germanic Stahlhelm organisation, 
but professedly of the Left. 

The Fascist “ list ” consisted of nineteen candidates. 
The first name was Benito Mussohni, the second was 
the Futurist Marinetti, and it included the name of 
the Maistro Toscanini. The other names were those 
of men of all previous political colours down to ex- 
Anarchists. But as Fascists they had a measure in 
common : with one exception they had all been 
war volunteers and with two exceptions they had all 
been wounded or decorated for valour. 

It was on this “ list ” that the Fascists of the Left — 
that is, the followers of Mussolini — first made public 
use of the fascia of the Roman lictors, emblem not only 
of the strength of unity but also a token of discipline 
and a symbol of past triumphs. The lictorfascio was 
decided upon at a Fascist reunion on October 23, 1919. 
The associations of war volunteers and many of the 
Arditi shock troops rallied to the Mussolini Fascists. 

The non-Mussolini Fascists of the Right acted 
under the title of “ the Fasci of Patriotic Assurance ” 
and selected the Star of Italy as their emblem. In 
November the general elections were held. 

Mussolini polled only a few thousand votes and 
neither he nor any of his eighteen fellow Fascists on the 
“ list ” were elected. The general victors throughout 
^ 81 


the country were the Socialists and the new Popular 
Party — of whom more hereafter. 

In the Popolo dTtalia Mussolini consoled his followers 
for their defeat by asserting that after all their effort 
was only “ a limited and circumscribed affirmation.” 

On the night following the declaration of the poll 
the Socialists spread the news in Milan that the body 
of a man identified as that of Mussolini had been found 
in the Naviglio canal. A Socialist procession marched 
in triumph to siege the headquarters of the Fascists. 
During this march a bomb was thrown, wounding a 
dozen or so of the demonstrators. For this a general 
strike was proclaimed for the morrow, and meanwhile 
the police arrested some thirty Fascists and perquisi- 
tioned fifteen revolvers and a Verey pistol found in the 
safe of the Popolo dTtalia offices. Mussolini was by this 
time known to be very much alive and a mandate for 
his arrest was issued and executed. He was taken to 
police headquarters, questioned for two hours con- 
cerning the arms and then put in a cell. As the posses- 
sion of the revolvers in a locked place was not a prison- 
able offence, the hand of the Socialists through 
Premier Nitti was seen in the procedure and there was 
considerable local public protest. Mussolini was re- 
leased in twenty-four hours. 

The scenes in the Chamber after these elections 
were marked with anti-monarchist demonstrations, 
the Socialists at the opening of Parliament in Decem- 
ber leaving the House in a body as the King entered. 
The year 1919 ended with strikes all over the country. 

Diplomatic differences with Italy’s war-time Allies ; 
a coup de force at Fiume ; trouble with the Socialist 
Congress of Berne, with the Freemason Congress of 


Paris and with clerical party trade unions (all of which 
shall in turn be surveyed) added to the complications 
of the situation which confronted the Fascists at the 
beginning of 1920 — a situation which piled itself up 
in social disaster as the year progressed. 

The year broke with a renewed epidemic of strikes. 
In January 1920 the railwaymen, postal workers and 
employees of all public services joined in a strike 
which seriously compromised national economy. The 
Carrara quarry workers went on strike. The printers 
of Pesaro, the tramwaymen of Verona, the bank em- 
ployees of Bologna, iron workers at Milan and Pola 
followed suit. At a National Council meeting of the 
Italian Socialist Party it was proposed that the Party 
be reformed on a Soviet basis. 

The railway lines were bombed at Milan, Arezzo 
and Ancona. In Cremona the Fascists managed to 
break up a Red procession, but in Florence they 
suffered in grave tumults with the Anarchists under 
Malatesta. Twenty-five were wounded in this side- 
show alone. Threatened by reprisals the Nitti Gov- 
ernment failed to enforce order. 

More Government measures were taken against the 
Fascists than against the Reds. Trains operated by 
Fascists who were non-union men, and trains carrying 
troops or officers were shot at and bombed. Under 
Red pressure the Government punished some of the 
railwaymen belonging to the Milan section of the 
State Railways who were “ culpable of having remained 
at their posts during the January strikes,” At Pisa 
the Reds took a short cut to the same sort of “ justice ” 
by opening revolver fire on such “ culpables.” 

By February 1920 the nxunber of Fascists in Milan 
alone had increased to 1800. 



Not counting innumerable and irresponsible more 
or less small local strikes all over the country, 200,000 
employees of the chemical industries were on strike in 
February ; local and State public service employees of 
all Italy came out in March, with seizure and occupa- 
tion of factories in Piedmont and Naples by the Reds. 
The Nitti Government fell and was reconstructed. 
After this, deficits in every department of the 
State budget were announced in the Chamber ; and 
the Socialist mayor of Milan was dismissed because 
he had consented to hoist the Italian flag over 
the Municipal Buildings. As a further complica- 
tion the Fascist and the shock-gangs of the Socialists 
on some occasions joined forces in their common 
antagonism against Nitti, although no alliance was 
tolerated. Ireland during the height of the Sinn Fein- 
Black and Tan trouble was a Sunday school treat 
compared to the state of affairs in post-war Italy. 

In April 1920 there were 70,000 men on strike. The 
invasion of factories grew bolder, and to this was 
added the invasion of private estates with destruction 
of farms, crops and livestock. By this time the nerve 
of the victimised public was at breaking point. 

In Milan alone that month 350 doctors, 350 mid- 
wives and 80 veterinary surgeons were prohibited 
from continuing their work of social mercy ; food was 
at a premium and the Bologna Chamber of Work 
ordered the refusal of bread to all who did not belong 
to the Red organisations. There were strikes in 308 
Communes. Meanwhile the Fascist numbers were 
steadily growing while at the same time their roll of 
members was being cut down by casualties in the 
fighting and rioting. 



The Mussolini Fascists were not the only people 
who banded together to confront the rising hordes of 
strikers. By this period there had sprung into being 
several anti-Red associations whose membership was 
also drawn from interventionist sources. There was 
the Anti-Bolshevist Popular Union, the Committee of 
Civil Organisation, the National League, the Fascia 
of Patriotic Assurance. Organisations such as these 
aimed at vindicating the war victory, but they were 
all of anti-Labour mentality : strike-breakers without 
heed to what any particular strike was about. In 
March 1919 Mussolini tried to unite these several anti- 
Red units. Although they and the Mussolini Fascists 
had the same immediate objectives in view as far as 
restoring order was concerned, the effort to work 
together failed for what may best be described as in- 
compatibility of temperament. 

At Viareggio in May 1920 a Red insurrection on a 
grand scale broke out and army and naval forces were 
mobilised to check sabotage. But agrarian violences 
spread in the north of Italy and one incident recorded 
in the contemporary local Press is the burning alive of 
fifty head of cattle and the stampeding and abandon- 
ment of 20,000 head. 

The Communists by this time had taken control of 
the situation which the Socialists had created and the 
Liberals tolerated. 

In reaction against the forces of disorder the Fascist 
numbers by May 1920 had risen to 27,000 with 3700 
Avanguardisti. The latter, mostly young men who 
had been too young for active service during the Great 
War, began as a students’ corps of advanced-guard 
Fascists, first organised in March. In May Nitd left 
office as Premier and in June his Ministry fell — 



the national budget then showing a deficit of 
14,000,0005000 lire. The Fascists waged war against 
Nitti in all Italy. In Rome the armed Party pohce, 
the Guardie Regie which Nitti had formed, fired on a 
group of unarmed students who were singing the 
Risorgimento patriotic song, Mamelfis hymn. Eight 
of them were killed and forty- two wounded. 

In June 1920 there were 12,000 railwayman on 
strike in Southern Italy and in North-East Italy 30,000 
peasants began a “ white revolution ” whose aim was 
land seizure. They descended on Treviso, where there 
was violence and devastation. 

During this month the Government decided to 
renounce Italy’s position in Albania. The Albanians 
rose against the Italians while they were retiring on 
Vallona. The Reds seized this opportunity to pour 
propaganda among the troops embarking at Ancona 
to reinforce their beleaguered comrades. The conse- 
quent tumult — half-revolution, half-mutiny — was with 
difficulty suppressed. 

An international strike was ordered, it is said by the 
Amsterdam Internationale, for July 20-21, 1919. It 
was to be a 48-hour complete paralysis of Europe 
to show consofidarity with Russia. British workmen 
as a whole refused to take part in it. France com- 
promised with a half-hearted 24-hour cessation of 
work. But Italy, the least able to withstand the 
results, plunged into it with chaotic inconsequence. 
Many of the Italian strikes were thus organised from 
abroad to prove “ solidarity.” In this the Italian 
workman was often the dupe of foreign interests as 
well as the catspaw of foreign Labour. 

It was during these events of 1920 that Ramsay 
MacDonald as a Socialist leader paid a fraternal visit 


to his Rome comrades. I would venture to believe 
from what he then saw of Italian conditions that he 
returned to London, at least inwardly, a chastened 

In desperation the country cried out for a saviour 
and Giolitti answered the call. The leader who had 
been hounded out of Rome in 1915 and who had been 
execrated during the war was welcomed back to the 
capital in July 1920. He at least was a man who 
knew how to handle the parties and a ray of hope shot 
through the storm-clouds when he came back to his old 
familiar ground in the Itzilian Chamber ; but things 
had gone too far for mere parliamentarianism to check. 
The flush of victory gave hfe and boldness to the forces 
of anarchy. These yelling mobs, armed, organised and 
determined, constituted the harvest of tares which 
Italian misuse of the democratic system had sown. 

With a policy successively suave and violent Giolitti 
tried to repress the universal turbulence ; but unction 
and blows only fed the flames. Then he tried his 
master-game of working off one party against another, 
and of seeking freak alliances to manoeuvre liis 
Government into effective control. In this he invited 
the Fascists to join cause with him in fighting the 
Socialists — even as a Communist group once asked the 
Fascists to join them against Nitti, and as (in later 
history) the Mafia of Sicily made overtures of co-opera- 
tion. The Fascists in some cases openly assisted the 
Government forces in combating subversive strong- 
holds but the alhance was refused, just as the Com- 
munist and Mafia proposals were rejected. 

Mussolini kept a free hand for the “ direct action ” 
principles laid down at the original San Sepolcro Con- 
stituent Assembly. But to the swelling forces of 



‘Fascism there was by now added the sympathetic 
attachment of all ex-servicemen and the frank support 
of the Nationalists, Mussolini’s allies in the interven- 
tionist days. The affair of d’Annunzio at Fiume (yet 
to be woven into the general picture of this period) had, 
thanks to the poet’s knowledge of the value of political 
symbohsm, given a great contribution to the idea of 
emblems, flags, salutes and insignias which were now 
becoming part and parcel of the Fascist movement/ 

The Communists and Socialists flew the Red flag 
but did not wear the Red shirt, for was not the Red 
shirt the uniform of Garibaldi ? Those who were 
Socialist Republicans wore Red shirts, because had 
Garibaldi not been a Republican at heart ? The 
Nationalists wore Blue shirts ; and eventually the 
Fascists, Black, These were not things of parade but 
of identification. It took a bold man to wear them ; 
for it was the bomb, the revolver, the rifle, the 
bludgeon and the knife that they invited. 

'As the Fascists grew stronger, the Socialists grew 
more compact and desperate. Fights became char- 
acterised with ferociousness. Incidents of personal 
heroism and of bestial cruelty, of patriotic self- 
abnegation and of bloody revenge, of martyrdom and 
murder punctuate the pages of the history of this social 

The theories of George Sorel found their organised 
expression in the assault squads of the Fascists. 

Pitched battles were fought at Ferrara and Bologna 
in the summer months, and the Red Guards still terror- 
ised all Italy. They controlled the movements of the 
bourgeoisie, insulted battle flags which had braved 
the victories of the Isonzo and the Trentino. Officers 
were man-hunted. Two were killed and eleven 


wounded in one August night in Savona, and in other 
reactions five were killed near Siena, seven killed and 
ten wounded near Florence, and three killed and 
seven wounded near Naples. Incendiarism began ; 
and shops, factories, ports and sheds were bombed and 
fired. A textile strike ended with 7,000,000 fire 
damage to the workmen and 50,000,000 lire loss of 
production to the nation. 

During September 1920 the Reds captured and 
occupied many of the principal factories in Piedmont, 
Lombardy, Liguria and Naples. The Red flag was 
hoisted on all steel and iron works. Murders and 
massacres were recorded as everyday incidents, but 
the public, hardened as it had become, was specially 
shocked with the acts of Red violence in Turin during 
the general occupation of the extensive factories there. 
Red tribunals were set up and two Fascists were 
arraigned before it and executed “judicially.” The 
Government did not intervene in this seizure of 
property nor against the abuse of justice. The fac- 
tories were gradually given up after seventy-five days 
of negotiations in which the Red Confederation of 
Workers dictated their terms to the owners. 

In the middle of continuous fighting new elections 
loomed up in October and the Fascists for the first 
time had their candidates all over the country. 

By the autumn of 1920 the economic effects of the 
disastrous life which Italy had been living began to be 
realised by thousands who had been duped into be- 
heving in the Red rising. Against the impressive fall 
of the lira, the doUar went to 26.75 ; the franc to 170 ; 
and the Swiss franc to 424. In the Bologna region 
alone the damage suffered during the past ten months 
of agrarian strikes amounted to 122,200,000 lire. 


The Blackshirt organisationincreased in effectiveness. 
The Reds grew more maddened — always driven by 
their own extreme Left. The Pro-Russian Sociahsts 
in October tried to initiate a “ bloody day ” for all 
Italy, and the signal for this was an alarming group of 
simultaneous bomb outrages in hotels and restaurants. 
The reaction of course led to more bloodshed. Fac- 
tion fighting raged everywhere. Reds who would not 
shout “ Long live Italy ” were killed by Fascists : 
Fascists who would not shout “ Long live Lenin ” 
were killed by Reds : and both Reds and Fascists were 
alternately coddled and killed by the Government’s 
Guardie Regie. 

In this month of November 1920 the first Fascist 
Trade Union — the Italian Confederation of Economic 
Syndicates — was created at Milan and the first Fascio 
abroad was constituted. The former represented the 
opening move for a co-operation of capital and labour, 
and it also represented a set-off to the Sociahst “ Labour 
Chambers ” established in every town in Italy. The 
latter was an effort to check misrepresentation of 
Fascist aims among the Italians abroad where, in 
France and elsewhere, they came tmder the direct 
propaganda of International Socialists. 

As a reaction against Giolitti’s order to Government 
troops to drive the forces of d’Annunzio out of Fiume, 
the Fascists organised a violent demonstration against 
the Government in every province in Central and 
Northern Italy. In this they met with Government 
opposition and more conflicts broke out. In certain 
places like Trieste and Milan the Blackshirts raised 
barricades in the streets and an insurrection was 
attempted. This failed. 



The shooting of the ex-servicemen’s leader, a law- 
yer called Giordani, in a fracas with Socialists at 
Bologna on December 21, 1920, raised the temper of 
the Fascists to boiling-point. From then on they 
fought as avengers. Four hundred Fascists were 
arrested in connection with the insurrection attempt. 
The year 1920 closed with Fascism stronger than ever 
in numbers and determination, but with all its local 
headquarters occupied by the military on the orders 
of the Government. 

An important event happened at the beginning of 
1921 : at the Socialist Congress of Leghorn the 
Socialists and Communists broke their official alliance. 
It is true that the scission had the immediate result of 
making both branches even more extravagant in vio- 
lence j but it was the beginning of the end — as far as 
a Bolshevist coup in Italy was concerned. The Com- 
munists who had fought in the ranks of the " Red 
Guards ” left that fighting unit to the Socialists and 
created new political shock troops which they called 
Arditi del popolo. 

Against these the Fascists redoubled their war, and 
in turn the Blackshirts became the particular and 
selected target for Communist attack. At Modena 
they bombed a Fascist funeral procession and in Feb- 
ruary a battle was fought in Florence where sixteen 
dead and two hundred wounded were left on the 
piazzas. An army lorry carrying marines and cara- 
binieri to Florence was ambushed by the Communists 
and fifteen of the regulars massacred. Public feeling 
began to veer violently away from the Reds and 
Fascist prestige rose in ratio ; and when on March 23, 
1921, Anarchists flung infernal machines among an 
innocent audience at the Diana Theatre at Milan, 



killing twenty and wounding fifty, including children, 
infants and women, the Milanese rose in their thou- 
sands to aid the Blackshirt avengers. 

♦The faction war began to take on a new character. 
The Reds, from being the general aggressors whose 
policy was wholesale assault, were from now on on the 
defensive, but with a system of defence based on 
terrorist attacks. The Fascist action squads — ^the 
squadnsti — from being the defenders of the public be- 
came the punitive arm of the public. The change 
was psychological rather than material, for to outward 
view the same old fighting went on. 

In Istria, Gorizia, Southern Tyrol (Alto Adige) and 
the Trentino — that is, in the territory annexed to 
Italy from Austria as the result of the war — the 
Socialist regime, linked with Internationalist Socialism, 
had made it clear to the Slavs and Germanic 
population that Italy’s rule over them was a mere 
temporary affair that would soon be swept away at the 
approaching Red dawn. The people in these regions 
believed this — and who could blame them, when 
neither the voice nor the authority of Rome ever 
reached them. This Socialist teaching opened the 
door wide for other propaganda — that of the Slav and 
Germano-Austrian Nationalist Associations. The pre- 
war status quo seemed complete. The former Slav and 
German regional and municipal administration car- 
ried on ; the portrait of the defeated Emperor Francis 
Joseph still hung in the offices and council chambers 
of the town halls ; an official visit of the King of Italy 
to Bolzano was boycotted by the natives ; and if the 
Red flag was flown on Government buildings it was 
only as a makeshift to hold the mast until the Double 



Eagle could once more be taken out of the chest 
and unfurled aloft. The penetration of the Italian 
language was completely ruled out and local men 
concerned themselves with candidates for the Austrian 
Chamber. Everything Italian was systematically be- 
littled and ridiculed. 

In an examination made by Mussolini he reported 
that during this period there was an anti-Italian move- 
ment run by the Deutscher Verband, a branch of the 
Andreas Hoferbund, with headquarters in Munich. This 
association claimed Italy as far south as the suburbs 
of Verona. Immediately after the Armistice Italy 
expressed its willingness and gave its undertaking to 
allow all local customs and languages to remain un- 
changed ; but as soon as the Italian troops of occupa- 
tion were demobilised the people denied that Austria 
had ever lost the war or they their country. Italian 
firms and the Italian language were boycotted at the 
Bolzano Sample Fair ; pan-German propaganda ran 
unchecked ; the Deutscher Verband forbade the dismissal 
of the Austrian mayor of Merano ; insults were lev- 
elled at the Italian King and Constitution ; the Post 
Office was exercised from Innsbruck. Four German 
Deputies were returned to the Italian Chamber with 
the declared programme of doing nothing but insist 
on the Germanity of the Alto Adige. Their aim 
was autonomy. These points were later laid before 
the Italian Chamber by Mussolini in his maiden 

To the Fascists and especially to the interventionist 
elements among them this state of affairs — this “ be- 
trayal of Dante, Mazzini, Garibaldi and the seven 
hundred thousand dead of the Great War ’’—was like 
a red rag to a bull. It increased their fury against the 



Government which allowed these things to go on un- 
checked and it led to a series of punitive raids in these 
border areas. It also explains that sternness of the 
Fascist Government in later days, for it was a reaction, 
not against a non-Italian populace as such, but against 
a condition of mind into which that populace had been 
duped. It was nevertheless the populace that suffered 
during the phase — from 1919 to 1925 — when the 
Fascists were recovering the spirit of November 4, 
1918 (the Armistice), as the real starting point for 
its national transformation process on political and 
economic grounds. 

While these Fascist raids of the spring of 1921 were 
going on in the North and North East the Socialists and 
Communists fomid the Blackshirt in wait for them with 
attacks and reprisals all over Italy. It developed into 
guerilla warfare and between January and May over 
six hundred fights involving casualties are recorded. 
The Government tried to make peace between these 
factions, but in vain. With the occupation of Por- 
denone on May 9 the Fascists of the Veneto revealed 
that the forces of Mussolini were now capable of ex- 
peditions in force. This expedition was carried out 
in consequence of the authorities confessing that they 
were incapable of dealing with disorders which had 
broken out following the murder of a Blackshirt. 

Even in these tumultuous times of ever-present con- 
flict and immediate harassment, Mussolini had his 
vision of a new Italy before his eyes. Addressing the 
workmen of Ferrara in April 1921 he told them: 
“ Rome is our point of departure and of reference. It 
is our symbol and our myth. We dream of a Roman 
Italy, that is, an Italy wise, strong, disciplined and 
imperial. Much of that imperial spirit surges in 



Fascism. Roman is our lictor. Roman is our unit 
of combattimento. Roman is our pride and courage.” 
These words he again repeated on the tenth anniver- 
sary of Fascism, dedicating them to the idea of a 
Roman, an Augustan peace. 

On May 15, 1921, the general elections were held. 
This time thirty- three Fascist representatives were re- 
turned and at the head of them was the ultra-revolu- 
tionary Republican but Fascist Mussolini. For the 
first time he now carried his campaign on to the floor 
of the House — the Forum Romanum of modern Italy. 




Liberal-Democratic Idealists. Adulterated Principles. Lack of Unity. 
Socialist Cohesion. Rise of Catholic Popular Party. Don Sturzo's 
Christian Socialism. Its Fatal Demagogic Character. Italy the Dupe of 
International Socialism. The Masonic R6le. French Influence. Nation- 
alist wholehearted and ex-Servicemen' s half-hearted Support of the Fascists. 

T he foregoing chapter shows the rise and reaction 
of Fascism against the Italian Reds. > If you 
remember at the end of Chapter X it was pointed out 
that the Red war was but one of the fronts which en- 
gaged the attention of the Fascists. There was also the 
front against the Constitutional parties ; that against 
the “ International ” elements ; and that against the 
Paris Peace Treaty delegates and policy. 

Sufficient has already been told to indicate the 
antagonism and clashes between the Blackshirts and 
the Constitutional parties. These Constitutional ele- 
ments manoeuvred in vain against the Socialist deluge. 
Men of the old school like Nitti and Giolitti, operating 
in the name of democracy, were politicians trying to 
check the spread of the post-war Bolshevist virus with 
doctored drugs from those bottles bearing the faded 
and defaced labels of Palmerstonian and Gladstonian 

There were, however, groups in the Chamber and 
in the Senate who still represented the pure and 
imadulterated principles of the Liberal-Democratic 
schools— just as there were thousands of Liberals and 
5 ^ 


Democrats in the country who maintained the stan- 
dards of their political creeds. But there was no unity 
among them. In sub-expressions of Liberalism they 
were mostly split up in groups which crystallized 
round the names of particular leaders like Salandra or 
Orlando, or who found their response in the philoso- 
phies of Benedetto Croce. Leaders and philosophers 
were unable to carry their dogmas through the com- 
plicated ramifications of Italian political life. All 
strength became dissipated and lost in the effort, while 
in face of the post-war social menace their voices were 
like the pipings of small birds among the howls of 
political wolves. 

Nevertheless many Liberals, with a determination 
that did more honour to their courage than to their 
powers of facing facts, suffered and were later mar- 
tyred for their theoretical cause, 

Giolitti, nominally a Liberal, secured his long fol- 
lowing not by the preaching of his faith but by his 
system of controlling Italy through provincial office- 
bearers whose jobs were the price of their allegiance. 
The Prefects were his instruments. Taking nothing 
for himself, he developed political corruption as a fine 
art. The graft machine which was perfected in pre- 
war days failed to functioninthepost-war days of theRed 
terror. His Prefects did not like being shot. Fascism 
also waged war against these aspects of Liberalism, 
but it was not until the events of the autumn of 
1922, when the Communists and Socialists had been 
eliminated as a national menace, that the Fascist 
war was concentrated against the Constitutional 

In the 1919-1920 period under immediate review 
the only cohesive and organised party was the Socialist 
° 97 


Party. In that lay very much of its strength. But in 
the midst of political turmoil, and almost parallel 
with the beginnings of the Fascist programme, there 
sprang into being another totally new party which 
played a highly important part in the balance of 
political power. This was the Popular Party. 

The Popular Party was a Catholic Centre party. 
Thanks to the peculiar relations existing between 
Church and State in Italy following the affairs of the 
Risorgimento, Italian Catholics boycotted the politics 
of their liberated Italy. This abstentionism had an 
official Church flavour, the Holy See in 1 895 assuming 
responsibility for the announcement that the notorious 
Catholic slogan *' Non expedit ” signified a prohibition. 
The boycott proved a boomerang measure and the 
non expedit veto gradually became an exception rather 
than a rule. 

With the Gentiloni agreement of 1913 the Church, 
under the Pontiff Pius X., and the State, under Gio- 
litti, arranged a modus operandi whereby Catholics could 
take part in elections without compromising themselves 
with either of their two masters. But in the post-war 
upheaval of 1919 the Cathohcs formed their own party 
and openly entered the lists as the Italian Popular 

The new party centred round the figure of the priest 
Don Luigi Sturzo, secretary and inspirer of the party 
and one of the ablest politicians of his epoch. The 
programme of the Popular Party, inspired by Christian 
ethics, came like a baimer of redemption into the god- 
less strife of the Communist-dominated political arena. 
The rise of the Popular Party was a phenomenon even 
swifter than the rise of Fascism ; by November 1919 
the Populars represented nearly a fifth of the Chamber 



and their votes came a close second after those of the 
orthodox Socialist Party. 

It concentrated on the organising of non-subversive 
trade unions, but it adopted the demagogic trade- 
union principles which, in effect, divided master and 
man. This fact proved its ultimate undoing when 
confronted with the uncompromising legions of the 

Don Sturzo, suspended between the Church and 
State ; given full authority by neither yet responsible 
to both — had a task of the kind which foreshadows 
political and in a sense personal martyrdom. Subtle 
and adaptive, he developed the progress of his Party, 
pursuing the line of least resistance. He did this by 
steadily insinuating Christian Socialism into the 
general Socialist body politic. In agrarian centres 
this had great success. But although abjured from 
violence, the co-operation of his peasant followers with 
the Socialist “ White ” peasants in their seizures of 
land sometimes made the line of differentiation diffi- 
cult to define. 

Don Sturzo also manoeuvred his Party as a balance 
of power in the flux of parties and groups in the 
lobbies of the Chamber. This meant that his Party 
became just another factor in the old game of parlia- 
mentarianism. With the return of Giolitti this method 
had been revived with all its evils, so that Don Sturzo, 
despite his Christian idealism, contributed to that 
blighting process which was to lead to the final disin- 
tegration of the democratic system of government in 
Italy. Don Sturzo was therefore assailed by the 
Fascists because his Party was considered as a some- 
time flanking support of the Socialists ; because 
he was considered to contribute to demoralising 



parliamentarianism ; because the F ascists were on prin- 
ciple against the idea of the Church, through its clerics, 
mbdng in the affairs of the State ; and, principally, 
because the Popular Party trade unions, like other 
existing unions, were the negation of Fascist trade 
unionism with its theories of co-operation. Had 
there been no social turmoil in Italy, the Popular 
Party trade unions would doubtless have evolved 
towards the abstract idea of co-operation ; but Don 
Sturzo tried by peaceful penetration and influence to 
reach an ideal which Mussolini was ultimately to 
realise through open conflict and revolutionary in- 
transigence. His methods were not fitted to the 

In a sense Mussolini also included the Populars in 
his antagonism against international influences. Al- 
though not representing the Vatican, the clerical 
flavour of the Populars, with their priest-leader Don 
Sturzo, identified them with the Church politically 
militant — and to Mussolini the immersion of the 
Church in the secular affairs of Italy recalled the ties 
which in the name of the Church had bound Italy 
through the ages to the successive yokes of the Holy 
Roman Empire, of the Habsburgs and of France. 

In a like “ internationalist ” sense, though of course 
for very different reasons, he combated the Commun- 
ists and Socialists as internationalists who were at- 
tempting to work out universal ideas at the expense of 
Italy’s hard- won nationalism. The Communists repre- 
sented the long arm of Soviet Russia, against whom, 
however, Mussolini had no quarrel as long as it 
confined its social experiments to Russia. 

The international Socialists he denounced as the 
agents and dupes of the ex-enemies — for was it not 


through them that the peace-defeatist propaganda 
found its widest outlet among the new foreign minori- 
ties inside the “ redeemed ” frontiers ? “ The Socialist 
Congress of Berne,” said Mussolini in the Popolo 
d'ltalia of February i8, 1919, “ would throw us once 
more in chains below the feet of the Hohenzollerns.” 

Although in his pre-war revolutionary Socialist days 
Mussolini had led the resolution (at the turbulent 
Socialist Congress of Ancona) that Freemasonry and 
Socialism were incompatible, it was a different shade 
of reasoning that led him to continue his war against 
Masonry in this post-war Fascist period. The Italian 
Freemasons, Francophile in tendency, had thrown the 
weight of their tremendous influence in favour of in- 
tervention in the war and had worked strongly for that 
end — although the infiltration of masonicaUy ap- 
pointed officers in the army did not guarantee that 
the best and most competent soldiers were in com- 
mand. By 1917, however, the prestige which the 
Masons as interventionists had gained in 1915 was 
counteracted by the belief that in June of 1917 a 
Masonic Congress in Paris, with the concurrence of 
the Italian delegates, had agreed to work for a peace 
programme which denied to Italy all the frontier 
objectives for which she had indeed entered the war 
at aU. And so, when in 1919-1920 the Allies were 
discussing the Peace terms in Paris, it was felt that 
the Grand Orient of France was taking Italian 
Masonry in tow as the agents of a peace which would, 
like the Socialist peace discussed at Berne, place Italy 
once more in subjugation to her traditional — ^but now 
conquered — foes. 

This leaves us to deal with the fourth and most 
difficult “ front ” on which the Fascists waged war- — 



that of the Peace delegates at Paris ; with Fiume as a 
battle-centre. As the 1919-1920 events in Paris have 
repercussions which basically affect the sequence of 
Mussolini’s foreign policy right up to today — and to 
unknown tomorrows — it is important, even at the risk 
of being tedious, to make a fairly complete examina- 
tion of the facts. 

. Before leaving the question of the parties and passing 
to the Paris Peace Conference it is necessary to record 
that there were also parties which gave support to the 
Blackshirts in these fighting days — the same parties 
which had ralhed together in the pre-war days of the 
intervention campaign. The Nationalists, with a will 
as strong but with means less bellicose, threw them- 
selves into the fray against the subversives. Their 
fighting Blueshirt squads often fought shoulder to 
shoulder with the Blackshirts. In fact, in the Rome 
districts they were for long more in evidence than the 
Fascists as the champions of order against disorder. 

The poet d’Armunzio also banded together a fight- 
ing group, but his exploits and those of his men are 
almost exclusively identified with events in Fiume — 
arising out of the unwelcome decisions of the Paris 
Peace Conference, 

It would have been thought that the ex-servicemen 
would have particularly rallied to the insignia of 
Mussolini. Thousands of them did — but as individuals 
at this epoch — ^not as an organised hloc. They had 
formed their associations — ex-Service and War 
Wounded — ^but had not yet orientated themselves 
away from the powerful propaganda poured on them 
by the Socialists. The associations as such stood aloof 
— the individual members going either Extreme Right 
or Extreme Left or doing nothing in a mood of exas- 


perated disgruntlement. The attitude of the ex- 
soldiers towards Fascism was also complicated by the 
fact that many of them were Masons. By igsao, how- 
ever, the associations and the great majority of their 
members swung into sympathy, but not yet into co- 
operation, with the Fascists^ 




Peace Conference Hopes. Wilson the God-man. A Shattered Idol. 
Itah's Peace Claims. Complications with Greece. The Response. 
“ Piume or Death." The Italians dig Themselves in. Americans in 
Fiume. Mussolini at Piume. 

D’Annunzio marches on Fiume. Forms a “ Constitution." Fantastic 
Style. Origin of the Blackshirt. Giolitti back in Power. He creates 
Fiume a " coipus separatum." Consequent conflicts. Allied conference on 
Fiume opened. 

T he high hopes raised by the victory of Vittorio 
Veneto were speedily dashed at the table of the 
Peace Conference in Paris. 

As we have seen at the end of Chapter IX, Italy’s 
ambitions had been qualified in some directions and 
extended in others. The fortunes of war which had 
coincided with the negotiations for the 1917 Rome 
agreement concerning the future of Yugoslavia saw an 
Italy strained and anxious — a different Italy from that 
which in less than a year from that date was to inflict 
on the enemy what was perhaps the only conclusive 
pitched battle in the whole history of the war. 

Convinced, not without reason, that the Italian 
victory had directly precipitated the coUapse of the 
Central Powers, Italy, to the urgent shouts of the 
Nationalist elements, looked to the Peace Conference 
for her prize, namely, the fulfilment of the 1915 Pact 
of London. Whson was hailed as the God-man come 
to end wars by so dividing the spoils that the con- 


querors would be satiated and the conquered paralysed 
for all time. 

Disillusionment was swift — as far as the satiation of 
Italy was concerned. When Wilson paid a visit to the 
Italian capital in 1919 he was at once enrolled as an 
honorary citizen of Rome. Within a few weeks his 
name was execrated, though it still stands engraved 
along with those of such illustrious citizens as Virgil, 
and Petrarch on the tablets of the Capitol. The first 
disillusionment arose from the fact that Wilson did not 
recognise the 1915 Pact of London. He did not ap- 
prove of its terms and said, moreover, that he had not 
been officially informed of its clauses before or during 
Ameriea’s entry into the war. The precise details of the 
Pact of London were in fact not known with certainty 
to the British public until they were published from the 
Russian secret documents by the Russian revolu- 
tionaries in the winter of 1917 ; but its general 
provisions had been an open secret almost from before 
the ink had dried on the signatures of its four cham- 
pions, Grey, Gambon, Imperiali and Benckendorff. 

Wilson was antagonistic to it. The Revolution 
Russians had of course already repudiated it. The 
British and the French acknowledged on principle 
their obligations : but, with the document apparently 
compromised, Lloyd George confused its issues on the 
one hand with his own Grecian schemes and on the 
other with compliance in Wilson’s Yugoslav prefer- 
ences. Clemenceau gave it a sort of staccato attention, 
searching the letter rather than the spirit of the Pact, 
inveighing against it wherever it threatened to en- 
croach on French interests present or potential. The 
supplementary Treaty of St. Jean, touching the par- 
tition of Turkey, was also compromised bv the fact 



that Russia was no longer an Ally— although it is 
difficult to understand why this should affect it, 
as its terms involved only Russia’s “ expression of 
opinion ” and not its veto. 

In this unfavourable atmosphere the Italian dele- 
gate Orlando began his work as one of the “ Big 
Four ” at Paris. While Italy was plunged into the 
social chaos described in the last two chapters, the 
diplomatic battle of the Allies at the Peace Conference 
waged wearily along, with, on Italian questions, Wilson 
sulking, Lloyd George sailing on side winds, Clemen- 
ceau growling, and Orlando alternately protesting, 
weeping and making slam-door exits. 

Foreseeing that the claim to the section of the Dal- 
matian seaboard would be considerably curtailed 
owing to the Wilsonian thesis of self-determination and 
that the strategic justification of giving that coast to 
Italy would be negatived in view of the prospective 
new state of Yugoslavia plus a League of Nations, the 
Italians took a leaf out of the Wilsonian book and 
demanded a plebiscite for the town and port of Fiume 
on the Adriatic, claiming it to be not only Italian but 

Italy asked for (i) the “ unredeemed ” territory on 
the basis of the 1915 Pact of London, (2) colonial 
compensation at the expense of Germany on the same 
basis, (3) colonial compensation at the expense of 
Turkey on the basis of the tributary Pact, (4) repara- 
tions, and (5) a Fiume plebiscite, in accordance with 
the Wilsonian self-determination formula. 

In spite of the fact that all these items were settled 
in a maimer unsatisfactory to Italy, and in spite of the 
fact that during the actual negotiations it was obvious 
that things were going unfavourably for the Italians 


in a general sense, the Italian delegation and the 
Italian public (or rather the non-Socialist Italian 
public) became obsessed with one point in their 
programme — Fiume. Fiume became “ the Adriatic 
problem ” and as such it inflamed Italian passions 
until the other problems, all much more important, 
were allowed to fade out before it. At the Peace Con- 
ference Italy revealed no statesmanship, no breadth of 
view, nothing but a frantic concentration on acquiring 
Fiume — a port without hinterland ; a port which in 
its potential competition with the new Italian posses- 
sion of Trieste and the old port of Venice must have 
been obviously, even then, an unwanted encumbrance. 
But, thanks to the poetic frenzy of d’Annunzio, it be- 
came a symbol of Italianity and therefore “ sacred.” 
As Nitti, who was no friend of the Fascists and who was 
also no friend of Orlando’s, says in his book, VEuropa 
senza Pace : “ During the Conference in Paris Italy 
took practically no interest in the problems which 
affected Europe, of people, of raw materials or of the 
new States, but concentrated her strength on the 
question of Fiume.” 

Let us see how Italy fared in her five above-noted 
demands, (i) Unredeemed territory : she got the 
Pact of London Alpine watershed line by the Brenner 
on the north and the Julian line with the Istrian penin- 
sula, all according to the Pact. (2) Colonial com- 
pensation at the expense of Germany ; as a set-off 
against mandated territory to Britain in Africa of 
1)825,950 square kilometres and 752,200 square kilo- 
metres to France and 54,000 square kilometres to 
Belgium, Italy was promised Upper Jubaland. (In 
1924 an area of go,ooo square kilometres was ceded by 
Britain.) (3) Colonial compensation at the expense 



of Turkey : Smyrna, contrary to Italian expectations, 
was left to Greece — a gift which led to the post-Great- 
War Greco-Turkish War, which in turn led to Grecian 
disaster. Eventually, when this position was somewhat 
cleared by the 1990 Treaty of Sevres, Italy’s claims 
to the abandoned rights of the Sultan in Libya and the 
Aegean Dodecanese Islands were confirmed. A 
tripartite agreement was then also signed recognising 
“ the special interests of Italy in Southern Anatolia.” 
The Kemalist reaction against the Sevres Treaty 
annulled by force of arms all the chances and advan- 
tages which Italy might have had in Anatolia. 

By way of compensation for the huge mandated 
territories taken by Britain and France, Italy was 
oflered a mandate over Georgia — which was then an 
independent country and only wanted military aid 
against Bolshevist Russia, which soon overran and 
took it. Italy wisely refused this mandate. 

In North Africa Italy was promised, by Britain, the 
rectification of her Girenaica frontier with Egypt. 
(This was accomplished in 1925, the Egyptian Govern- 
ment completing the British obligation.) Italy was 
promised, by the French, the rectification of her 
Tripolitania-Tunisia-Sahara frontier. (This, a slight 
matter merely involving facilities for a camel route was 
eventually accomplished.) Italy asked the rectifica- 
tion of her southern Libyan frontier and advanced her 
claims, as the succession state to the Sultan’s territory, 
to the lands leading to Lake Chad. This was practi- 
cally all refused. Some of the oases commanding the 
northern approaches to Chad were offered to Italy if 
she would occupy them at once and guarantee to 
protect the French Sahara from Arab tribal raids. 
The Italian Government, at the time, as we have 


seen, could not guarantee itself against Communist 
raids in the cities of Italy, far less Arab raids in the 
heart of the Sahara ! So this offer, like the equally 
impossible Georgian one, was declined with thanks. 
(4) Reparations : Italy got her quota for repara- 
tion, but the figure and_its subsequent adjustments 
concern European history as such rather than Fascist 
affairs. (5) The Fiume plebiscite and the Adriatic : 
on this fateful issue the Italians began their discussions 
with one material advantage. This was the fact that 
in accordance with the Armistice terms the Italians 
were entitled to occupy all strategic points on the 
Adriatic seaboard. So they quietly established them- 
selves in all the places earmarked for them in the 
much disputed Secret Treaty of London. Even in 
diplomacy possession is nine points of the law. 

In addition to occupying points definitely assignable 
by the Treaty, they also placed their military forces 
at locations designated independent and neutral, like 
the area round the Gulf of Cattaro, and in Albania. 

And they also planted themselves on one special 
point which did not appear in the Treaty at all — 
Fiume, where Groat troops had also quietly dug them- 
selves in. In fact, when the Peace delegates first fore- 
gathered in Paris, the Italians were already in posses- 
sion of all, and a little more, of the European territory 
to which they considered themselves entitled by the 
laws of right and conquest. To ease the situation a 
little, the Groat troops in Fiume were withdrawn and 
substituted by Americans. 

To understand the mood of Italy at that time, it 
must be remembered that all the regions occupied by 
them I'epresented, on the north and north-east, land 
which they had redeemed with the sacrifice of blood 


and treasure “ in the name of the sacred aspirations of 
the now-fulfilled Risorgimento ” ; while, on the Adria- 
tic east, the occupied regions represented land over 
which they also had spilled blood and treasure in 
rescuing the Serbian army, the Serbian King and the 
Serbian refugees from annihilation and capture by the 
Austro-Germanic armies, and in protecting Albania 
and Montenegro from being overrun. 

The embryo Yugoslav State, however, saw a menace 
to their plans of independence in these Adriatic ports 
of Armistice occupation, so on petition to the Entente, 
the Italians withdrew from some points and the re- 
maining Italian occupation was changed to, or rather 
supplemented by, inter-Allied occupations at crucial 
places, including Fiume, No sooner was this done than 
incidents began to break out, and conflicts, especially 
with the French troops at Fiume, added irritation and 
danger to the whole European Entente situation, 
already critical enough. 

Becoming fixed with the idea of possessing Fiume, 
the Italians began a violent propaganda for their 
cause. “ Patriotic ” associations sprang up locally 
and on the peninsula, with activities which split 
opinion in Socialist-ridden Italy and ran counter to 
the moves of wavering Governments whose “ imperial- 
ism ” was subject to the exactions of electioneering 
“ platforms.” 

Fascists, Nationalists and many ex-Servicemen 
threw themselves vigorously into the campaign, de- 
manding the annexation of Fiume to Italy on all sorts 
of grounds from sentimental to strategic. It was also 
alleged that British shipping interests were working 
for the preservation of a non-ItaHan Fiume. The port 
had been the Adriatic outlet of Hungary, and with the 


repartition of its hinterland all shipping traffic would 
be killed — as it has been. This aspect of the case, 
together with the anger against the Allied handling 
of the whole Conference in Paris, caused the Italian 
annexationists to include all the Allies in their polemi- 
cal attacks. 

In May 1919, just one month before the Versailles 
Treaty was signed, Mussolini visited Fiume and, speak- 
ing in the Teatro Verdi, denounced “ the incredible 
ingratitude of France, the bad faith of the prophet 
Wilson and the imperialist aspirations of Anglo- 
Saxons and Greeks ” — which were causing Italy “ to 
lose the benefits to which she was entitled.” As a 
solution he announced that “ the first thing to be 
done is to banish foreigners from the Mediterranean, 
beginning with the English.” As a general outline he 
suggested : “We must give every possible aid to 
the revolutionary movement in Egypt — that ancient 
Roman colony, the natural granary of Italy, which has 
200,000 Itahans among its inhabitants. There is also 
Malta, where an Italian irredentist movement has 
been set on foot. As for France, she must lose her 
Mediterranean Empire, beginning with Tunis, which 
is already Italian by its population. And what will 
happen to Fiume ? The question is already settled. 
Just as Italy made herself, so must Fiume act for her- 
self. The decisions of the four old idiots in Paris will 
have no effect on the sanction of the Italian people.” 

This speech reveals the excited and uncompromising 
mood under which the Fascists and the Nationalists 
laboured. It was a speech made “ in the name of the 
sacred dead,” In conclusion Mussolini exclaimed 
that “just as Italy had entered the war of 1915 with 
the cry of War or a Republic, the country’s cry today 



is ‘ Fiume or Death.’ ” That evening a call was made 
for a volunteer corps for the annexation of the town. 
The drilling of this corps added still another anxiety 
to the (constitutional) Italian and AlHed occupying 
forces ; but the movement spread and “ Fiume or 
Death ” became another battle-cry in the social 
derangement of Italy. 

In the midst of this ferment the soldier poet Gabriele 
d’Annunzio suddenly sprang into world limelight. 
Gathering a group of followers around him at Ronchi, 
near Trieste, he marched on Fiume, entered the town 
and occupied it in the name of Italy. His forces, 
known as the Legionaries of Ronchi joined up with 
the swelling numbers of the “ Fiume or Death ” 
legionaries and their joint methods were those of the 
Mussolini Blackshirts on the peninsula, save that in- 
stead of opposing only Communists and demagogues 
tliey defied the Italian Government itself, plus the 
Allied troops of occupation. 

The poet set up a “ National Council,” framed a 
“ Constitution ” and organised things on a picturesque 
and, to the northern mind, opera-bouffe basis. But it 
was play-acting with real bullets in the guns. Many 
of his emblems and much of his symboHsm were 
adopted by the Fascists, to whom to this day he re- 
mains a great if somewhat aloof hero, living at his 
fantastic house on Lake Garda, with the title of Prince 
of Montenevoso, named after the frontier mountain of 
that name. 

Maps I, 2 and 3 contain, except for the North 
African hinterlands, the vital points of reference 
mentioned in this chapter. 

Post-war events as far as the fighting Fascists were 
concerned did not allow much time or opportunity for 

V POl 1 TN \RMS 

Oabnele d’ \nminzio sunoundcd b\ his Geileral Slair^” makiut^ his first opt n air additss m riume after liis seizuie 
and OL cu]') ilioa of that seaport in in the name of Ital> and tn dc/iaritt t i iht Ii iJian Goxtjjimtnt and the Big 

Four at \ ers ullcs {PI olo b% cointes\ of 1/? Thomas of ihe hmttd Pitsi^ of h rritf > 


picturesque display. Business was too serious for uni- 
forms or parades. It was not until after the Fiume 
affair in 192 1 that the black shirt was generally worn as 
an officially recognised dress of Mussolini’s followers. 
The black shirt is a derivation from the jiamme nere 
which decorated the tunic collars of the war-time 
Arditi shock troops. Different regiments have different 
coloured patches of cloth cut like zig-zag pennons and 
sewn on the collar. They are known as “ flames,” and 
“ black flames ” and the death’s head of the Arditi 
were dedicated by early ex-service adherents to the 
Fascist cause. The next step from the sewn jiamme was 
the introduction of a black scarf Garibaldi had made 
all Italy familiar with the idea of a coloured shirt as 
the symbol of a liberating cause, so the change from 
black scarf to black shirt was a natural suggestion when 
increasing numbers and more formal assemblies de- 
manded a distinctive dress of recognition. The Fas- 
cists had also the example of the Blueshirt Nationalists 
before them. 

Gabriele d’Annunzio let loose the full powers of his 
invective against the Allies in turn. When it came to 
England’s turn he said, in a typical passage here 
quoted from the Vedetta d" Italia ; “ Fiume is as invin- 
cible as she has ever been. True, we may all perish 
beneath her ruins, but from these same ruins the 
spirit will rise again strong and vigorous. From the 
indomitable Sinn Fein of Ireland to the Red Flag 
which unites cross and crescent in Egypt, rebellions 
of the spirit, catching fire from our sparks, will bum 
afresh against the devourers of raw flesh, and the 
oppressors of unarmed nations. The voracious Em- 
pire which has possessed itself of Persia, Mesopotamia, 
New Arabia and a great part of Africa, and yet is never 
H 113 


satisfied, can, if it so wishes, send its aviator-murderers 
against us, just as in Egypt it was not ashamed to 
massacre insurgents, who were armed with nothing 
more than sticks.” England, however, sent no “ avia- 
tor-murderers ” but let the poet stew in his own 
rhetoric. It was Giolitti who did the “ murdering ” 
by ordering an Italian battleship to bombard the head- 
quarters of the National Council, 

In election clamour against the Home policy and 
the Peace Conference policy of Nitti that Minister was 
swept from office and, as already noted, Giolitti was, 
with almost equal desperation, swept back into power. 
Determined — against the rising temper of the country 
and the increasing strength of the Fascists — to expel 
d’Anmmzio from Fiume, Giolitti, with Count Sforza 
as Foreign Minister, signed the November 12, 1920, 
Treaty of Rapallo with Yugoslavia. This treaty, 
among other things objectionable to Fascist opinion, 
recognised the independence of Fiume as a “ corpus 
separatum” At the same time Albania was evacuated 
and the clashes between the Blackshirts and the 
Government forces broke out all over Italy as an 
additional war to that of Blackshirts versus Reds al- 
ready described. 

In May 1920 Giolitti had already ordered the 
blockade and bombardment of Fiume — measures half- 
heartedly done by troops whose sympathies were 
largely with the victims of their orders. By 1921 
negotiations for a “ conference ” of the Allies on the 
Fiume question had been opened and were moving 
along, while in the town many parades were held and 
considerable blood spilled in an atmosphere which 
became ever more complicated on account of econo- 
mic as well as political shortcomings. 



Now I must ask the reader to perform the not too 
easy task of superimposing the sequence of post-war 
events from November igi8 to May 1921 described 
sectionally in this and the previous three chapters — 
“> Mussolini Raises his Flag,” “ Battles with the Reds 
and other Conflicts,” and" The Debacle of Versailles.” 
The sum-total of these extraordinary happenings repre- 
sent in some measure the state of Italy when Mussolini 
was elected to Parliament — his hand against everyone. 
An appreciation of these prevailing conditions will 
allow an understanding of all that lay behind his first 
speech in the Chamber — a speech which is an impor- 
tant landmark in the history of Fascist progress and 
policy — the first official step towards what was to be- 
come world-power, 



His Place in the Chamber. Maiden Speech. Alto Adige Again. Foreign 
Affairs. He attacks Communist Doctrines. Co-operation of Classes and 
of Capital and Labour foreshadowed. Roman Peace with Vatican also 
foreshadowed. He offers factional Disarmament. Fascism and Violence. 
Mussolini's Rhetorical Method. Clear Vision of Future. 

W HEN Mussolini, firebrand revolutionary and un- 
orthodox patriot — more accustomed to the 
barricades, the public squares, prison and the leader- 
writer’s desk than to the formalities of the Chamber — 
first took his seat as a Fascist Deputy in the Parliament 
which he had so often and so thoroughly reviled, he 
selected a place at the extreme right top-hand corner 
of the amphitheatre of benches facing the Presidential 
bench. For some time he did not open his mouth. 
Lean, not with the leanness of a naturally thin man, but 
lean with the struggle of life in which Italia came 
always before self, he sat there watching, watching, 
watching. The bigness of his determined jaw at that 
epoch was outdone by the bigness of his eyes. They 
blazed as he looked from face to face studying his 

Around him were massed his thirty-two fellow 
Fascists, all of them equally unorthodox and with a 
devil-may-care look about them that was disconcert- 
ing. Mussolini was thirty-eight years old and the 
average age of his fellow Blackshirt deputies was 
twenty-nine. In support and seated next to the Fascist 
group were seventeen Nationalists. This bloc of 



forty-nine faced the 400 odd hostile deputies, ranged 
in their formidable Centre blocs under Giolitti and 
the Populars, and the compact Socialist bloc with its 
big Communist tail on the extreme left facing the 
Fascists across the well of the House. 

Apart from the cohorts of the Socialists, the legions 
of the Fascisti and the inner circles of the electioneering 
factions, Mussolini at this phase had no particularly 
outstanding place in the political gallery as far as the 
general masses of the public were concerned. His 
name was known, but it was not yet one which counted 
in the popular imagination as anything particularly 
constructive. The few non-political people today who 
can recall meeting and appreciating Mussolini when 
he first came to Rome as a simple deputy preen them- 
selves as pioneers of prophecy. Perhaps that more 
than anything else can convey an idea of the place 
he held. In other words — if he had failed in the 
summer of igai he would never have been heard of 
outside the byways of parliamentary Milanese and 
party annals. But he did not fail ; and those in the 
Chamber who were rebuffed in any attempt to 
patronise the new deputy little imagined that he was 
Italy’s “ Man of Destiny ”. 

Mussolini made his first speech as a deputy on the 
debate which followed the Crown Speech delivered 
by the Liberal Premier Giolitti. It was June 21, 1921, 
and the Chamber was packed — and stifling in the 
summer heat. The speech is of importance in any 
survey of Fascism : it represents not only the first 
official exposition of Fascist policy towards specific 
questions confronting the country, but it reveals the 
first formal indications of Fascist principles which 
now form part and parcel of the State. 



Declaring that his matter would be “ anti-demo- 
cratic, anti-Socialist — and, being anti-Socialist, also 
anti-Giolittian,” he passed at once to an attack on 
Giolitti’s claim that the Alpine barrier was all in Italy’s 
power. Mussolini then gave in detail “ the result 
of my personal enquiry into the Alto Adige situation.” 
The data given in my earlier chapter dealing with 
Tyrol conditions in 1919-1920 are partly taken from 
this report of Mussolini’s enquiry. In conclusion, 
Mussolini demanded the dissolution of the Deutscher 
Verband^ the immediate deposition of certain pan- 
German officials, the creation of a new Province and 
the strict observance of bilinguality in all public and 
administrative acts. He also told the four German 
deputies “ to tell them beyond the Brenner and there 
make it known that we are at the Brenner and that we 
will remain there at all costs.” This straight talk got 
the applause of the Government, the Premier Giolitti 
intervening to declare, “ We are all agreed on that.” 

' He then turned to the Adriatic frontier and attacked 
Giolitti for the Treaty of Rapallo and the consequent 
bombardment of Fiume. Criticising the Government’s 
policy vis-d-vis Yugoslavia, he asked a question which 
reveals that his beUef in the necessity of Peace Treaty 
revision is a thing of no recent birth. In fact we have 
already seen it at the time of the Fascist foundation 
Constituent. He asked ; “ What are the orientations 
of our foreign policy in face of the vast furnace of dis- 
cord which the Peace Treaty, or rather the various 
non-Peace Treaties, have left in all parts of the 
world ? ”• 

Mussolini, whose party had been swept up on to the 
political platform by the convulsive upheaval of home 
affairs, surprised the Chamber by thereafter entering 


'upon what is now recognised as a typically Musso- 
linian schematic survey of foreign affairs. His special 
wrath was reserved for the pusillanimity of the Gov- 
ernment in abandoning Montenegro into the hands 
of Serbia, and he spoke against the British Zionist 
movement in Palestine, adding in parenthesis that his 
words were not to be taken as indicating any anti- 
semitism, “ which would be something new in this 
Chamber, which recognises, as I recognise, that the 
sacrifice of blood given by Italian Jews in the war was 
most great and generous.”, 

Concluding his observations on the Giolitti Govern- 
ment’s foreign policy by declaring that the Blackshirts 
would always be in opposition to the “ sceptical ” 
“ blasS'^ and “ career” style of Count Sforza, Mus- 
solini turned to home affairs and defined the attitude 
of Fascism towards other parties, beginning with the 

In one sentence he revealed the basic weakness of 
Communism : “ Communism is a doctrine which 
sprouts in times of misery and desperation. When 
property and possessions are decimated, the first 
thought that springs into the human mind is to divide 
all things in common so that there may be a little for 
everyone. But that is only the first phase of Com- 
munism — the phase of consumption. After that there 
is the phase of production — which is enormously 
difficult. It is so difficult that even that great and 
formidable expert, who answers to the name of 
Vladimir Ulianoff Lenin, has found it more refiractory 
than bronze or marble when he has to work with 
human material.” 

Turning then to the Italian Communists he said ; 
“ I know you because some of you are my spiritual 


children. I know you with a sincerity which may 
appear cynical because I was the first to infect you 
when I introduced into the circulation of Italian 
Sociahsm a little of Bergson mixed with much Blanqui. 
The neo-spirituahstic philosophies with their continu- 
ous fluctuations between the metaphysical and the 
lyrical are most pernicious for small brains. These 
philosophies taste fine to the palate, but you’ve got to 
digest them. Those of my friends, or enemies.” 
(Cries from the Extreme Left, “ Enemies.”) “ That 
at any rate is specific. Very well, then. Those of my 
enemies who swallowed Bergson at twenty-five have 
not yet digested him. 

“ As long as Communists talk of dictatorship of the 
proletariat or of a more or less preciously absurd re- 
public there can be nothing but conflict between us.” 

In this declaration we see foreshadowed Mussolini’s 
system of co-operation of the classes to which he 
referred more definitely when in this speech he dealt 
with the Itahan Socialist group. He drew a distinc- 
tion between those aspects of Italian Socialism which 
represented a movement of workers as such and a 
political party. To trade-union programmes which 
faced economic realities, improved social legislation 
and safeguarded the workmen he lent his approval 
and support, but only when detached from the Social- 
ist political party and its doctrines. In a phrase which 
is the essence of his revolution he said : “We deny 
the existence of two classes, because there are many 
more than two classes. We deny that all human his- 
tory can be explained in terms of economics. We 
deny your internationalism. That is a luxury article 
which only the elevated can practise, because peoples 
are passionately bound to their native soil. 


“ We affirm that the true story of capitalism is now 
beginning, because capitalism is not a system of op- 
pression only, but is also a selection of values, a co- 
ordination of hierarchies, a more amply developed 
sense of individual responsibility.” 

Mussolini then turned to the Popular Party. He 
recalled that the Fascists neither preached nor prac- 
tised anti-clericalism. Citing seveial points from the 
Popular Party’s policy concerning social and educa- 
tional institutions, Mussolini expressed himself in 
accord, but he indicated that there was something 
greater between the Church of Rome and the Italian 
State than mere party play ; “ I affirm that the Latin 
and Imperial tradition of Rome is represented by 
Catholicism . . . and I think that if the Vatican defin- 
itely renounced its temporalistic dreams — and I be- 
lieve that it is already on that road — Italy conld fur- 
nish the Vatican with the material help that a profane 
Power has at its disposition.” From this it can already 
be seen that it was the historical and not a religious 
impulse which moved Mussolini towards the Recon- 
ciliation affected eight years later. 

With reference to the question of Church and State 
it may be noted at this point that the tension of the 
“ Roman Question ” during these post-war years had 
considerably lessened. I have already made reference 
in an earlier chapter to the fact that the rise of a new 
generation brought a more dispassionate mentality to 
consideration of this problem. The passage of years 
also made it abundantly clear that Italy had come to 
stay. Negotiations were therefore opened as early as 
1918 for a rapprochement It was discovered, however, 
that as long as the subject lay undiscussed then the 
existing nominally unilateral modus vioendi worked 



reasonably well ; but as soon as the topic was tabled 
in the Chamber the parties aroused old passions and 
no progress was made. Orlando, in faihng to reach an 
agreement in 1918, admitted that only a strong Gov- 
ernment could carry through any such reconcili- 
ation. .The Premiers Nitti, Bonomi, Giolitti and de 
Facta — whose years of office spanned 1919-1922 — all 
failed in their efforts to solve the Roman Question. 
Giolitti indeed finally dismissed it as insoluble, saying 
that ” parallels could only meet in infinity.’,’ 

Concluding his first Chamber speech as a deputy 
with a reference to the conflicts, armed conflicts, of 
the parties in Italy, Mussolini said that it was use- 
less for Giolitti to say that he wished to restore the 
authority of the State. “ The task is enormously 
difficult because there are already three or four 
States in Italy who contend for the probable or 
possible exercise of power. To save the State it is 
necessary to perform a surgical operation.” As for 
Fascist violence, he offered to disarm and to desist 
if the other parties would do likewise. He also called 
on all parties to disarm in spirit as a supreme necessity 
of peace. 

“ .Violence for us is not a system, it is not a code and 
less still is it a sport. It is a hard necessity to which 
we are put. But let me add — ^we are ready to disarm 
if you in yom turn also disarm, above all in spirit. . . . 
We are all at a decisive period ; loyalty for loyalty. 
Before we lay down our weapons, disarm your spirit.” 
It is interesting to reflect that this formula for home 
faction disarmament is practically the same as that 
which Mussolini advances today for Emopean national 

The speech made a great stir. It had an incisiveness 


unusual in the Italian Chamber. It was straight 
hitting — Left and Right. 

It had also that discomfiting quality which was later 
to be developed as one of Mussolini’s most formidable 
and subtle rhetorical diplomatic methods both in home 
and foreign affairs ; that of inferring the responsibility 
of others. A problem is defined ; its Fascist solution 
involving reciprocal conditions is tabled ; a refusal of 
the other side to accept these reciprocal conditions is 
claimed as inferring non-Fascist responsibility for the 
consequent continuation and aggravation of the prob- 
lem and also infers consequent Fascist self-protective 
freedom of action fortified by self-righteousness. The 
possible fallacy lies in the original definition of the 
problem. This is just an interpellated thought which 
occurs on re-reading this first Chamber speech — a 
reflection on the method and not on the substance of 
that historic and indicative discourse. 

For the purposes of this history we are more directly 
concerned with the substance : in that we can see 
the continuity from the past in the fact that first and 
foremost Mussolini deals with the question of Italy’s 
northern frontiers and Adriatic gateways. The torch 
from the beacon of Dante, thrown forward by Mazzini 
to rekindle in the cannon flames of Vittorio Veneto, 
almost quenched by the blows of scythe and hammer, 
but seized and whirled aloft by d’Annunzio, re- 
glimmers with steadier rays caught up by Mussolini 
confronting Parliament. 

This speech is also of interest because (supple- 
mented by his leading articles in the Popoto d Italia) 
it shows that MussoUni’s thoughts on great questions 
such as co-operation between capital and labour, the 
corporative system, reconciliation between Church 



and State, and Rome as the recovered centre of uni- 
versal ideas were already present in his mind long 
before he ever came into power or had indeed any 
reasonable prospect of ever assuming power. 

Those who make the wrong kind of criticism against 
Mussolini and Fascism are fond of saying that the 
original Blackshirts had a programme based only on 
opportunism and that Mussolini throughout the years 
has added new developments to his creed always on 
that opportunistic basis. Evidence, as we have seen 
and shall further see, reveals that from the first hour 
Mussolini possessed a clear vision of what are now the 
established and greatest achievements of his regime. 
What deceives the superficial critic is this : Mussolini 
often in an almost casual and abstract manner in- 
cludes in his early speeches references to his principles 
of policy, and it is not perhaps until years later that 
he — and usually with almost dramatic suddenness — 
proceeds to apply them or to advocate them as issues 
for immediate solution. In other words, he voices 
his ideas, then keeps them latent until the most 
favourable moment for their application and deliver- 
ance, be it days or years. In “ timing ” his political 
and diplomatic punches Mussolini is a past-master. 

But we must pull ourselves away from reflections on 
Mussolini’s speeches in general and his first Chamber 
speech in particular in order to rejoin him, as observers, 
once more in the fray of action among the political 
and faction wars which stfll raged despite his plea for 
disarmament of hand and spirit. 


Resignation oj Giolitli. Socialist Premier Bonomi, 6000 Fascists assail 
Ravenna. The Sarzana Ambush. A Fascist-Socialist Truce. Fascist 
Split. Mussolini resigns Office. Resignation Rejected. Fascist Congress 
Convened. Mussolini Insists on Unity as Price of Leadership. Unity 
Proclaimed. Mussolini Returns. Preparing to Become a Regular 
Parliamentary Parly. The Monarchy Qjtestion. Mussolini’s views. 
Republicanism Jettisoned. Reasons. The Garibaldi Parallel. The 
Army and the Industrialists. Liberal Overtures. Udine Speech. 
Crystallization of Doctrines. Congress of Rome Again. Fascists Become 
an Inscribed Party. The Communists’ Last Strike. Broken by Black- 
shirts. Election of Achille Ratti as Pope. Importance to History of 
Fascism : Reasons. Facta Becomes Premier. Motion Depresied. Foreign 
Policy Failures. Mussolini Ready for March on Rome. 

A fter Mussolini’s first Chamber speech of June 
1921, the period from then until September 1922 
(just before the Fascist march on Rome) contains 
a series of events of great importance in the progi’ess of 
Fascism : (r) the fall of Giolitti and his succession in 
office by the Reformist Socialist Bonomi, with conse- 
quent reaction against the Fascists and the beginning 
of a number of Cabinet crises which completely under- 
mined effective government, (2) Mussolini’s change 
from republicanism to monarchism, (3) the constitu- 
tion of the Fascists as a political party, (4) the death 
of Benedict XV. and the election of Achille Ratti as 
Pope, (5) the final attempt of the Communists and 
their complete defeat together with all other subver- 
sive groups, (6) the beginning of the straight fight be- 
tween the Fascists and the “ demo-liberal ” constitu- 
tional parties, and (7) the occupation by the Fascists 



of “ morally strategic ” points in Italy. Let us trace 
these things. 

Shortly after Mussolini’s speech Giolitti tendered 
his resignation, not on account of any reasons con- 
nected with Mussolini’s criticisms, but as a parliamen- 
tary manoeuvre in the established Giolittian manner. 
He saw that a Government crisis was brewing and he 
dissolved the Chamber and sought a re-shuffie. State 
employees, as foreseen, began another agitation which 
led to another strike. Disorders broke out afresh over 
Italy and the Fascists waged street and highway war- 
fare against the Socialists and the Communists. In 
the summer of 1921 Giolitti was replaced by Bonomi, a 
Moderate Socialist with a reputation as a good 

I have shown how Giolitti as a matter of policy blew 
sometimes hot and sometimes cold on the Fascists. 
With Bonomi there was no equivocation. It was 
either a case of “ friend or foe.” Fighting grew 
fiercer and the Blackshirts, with the rising consent of 
the people, grew bolder. They broke strikes and 
heads with equal zeal. They fought equally in Rome 
and Trieste. They organised a mass attack of six thou- 
sand Blackshirts on Socialist-held Ravenna. Making a 
similar raid on Sarzana, the Fascists found the road on 
the orders of the Government barred by carabinieri. 
The Blackshirts were fired on and dispersed, leaving 
several dead and wormded. Armed Communists then 
set on them from ambush and completed the rout with 
atrocities. Eighteen Fascists were killed and thirty- 
five seriously wounded. In July at Grosseto fourteen 
Communists were killed in a fight with the Fascists. 
The Popular Party formed part of the Bonomi Govern- 
ment majority. 
is 6 


During the autumn months of 1921 there was a 
dramatic episode in the history of Fascism. Discon- 
tented with evidence of disunity among the Fascists 
MussoUni resigned his leadership. For three months 
the Blackshirts were deprived of his command and 
then he was hailed back as Duce of a re-united party. 
The details of the affair are as follows ; 

During July 1921 the leaders of all parties were 
satiated with the endless bloodshed which was reduc- 
ing the political and social life of the country to ruin. 
Mussolini and Bonomi got together and framed the 
basis of a truce, and on August 3, 1921, a Pact of 
Pacification was solemnly signed under the auspices 
of the President of the Chamber. In this document 
the Sociahsts, Trade Union and Fascist leaders under- 
took to put a stop to acts of violence, Mussolini sign- 
ing on behalf of the Fascists. 

It only required a few days however to make it 
apparent that the political “ shock troops ” and 
riotous squads of aU the factions were no longer 
tolerant of command. The Communist and Anarchist 
elements were still strong enough to manipulate the 
policy of the Moderate Socialists, and strife involving 
Socialist participation increased rather than abated. 
The international influences among the trade unions 
in like manner negatived all official control over 
strikes and strikers. The Fascists in various provincial 
centres refused to lay down their arms in the midst of 
the unabated miUe. The Blackshirts of Romagna 
(Mussolini’s native province), of Veneto and Reggio 
Emilia point-blank declared that they did not sub- 
scribe to the terms of the Pacification Pact. 

In face of this situation Mussolini declared that 
evidently he had made a mistake in believing that the 



Fascists were united and that without tmity there 
could be no leadership and no peace. Accordingly on 
August 17, 192 1 5 Mussolini sent in his resignation from 
the Executive Committee of the Party. On August 
19 the Committee and Council refused to accept his 
resignation, saying that such a serious decision could 
only be dealt with at a National Congress of Fascists. 
An agitation for the convening of such a Congress was 
immediately set on foot and amid seething Fascist 
excitement a Great National Congress of Blackshirts 
was opened in the Augusteo Concert Hall in Rome on 
November 6, 1921. The meeting lasted two days. 
On the opening day Mussolini appeared as a dimission- 
ario and took no active part in the discussions. On the 
second day a Fascist arose and recalled the beginnings 
and growth of the Blackshirts ” from a handful of 
resolute men to ten thousand men, from ten thousand 
to fifty thousand and from fifty thousand until today 
when we are three hundred and ten thousand,” and 
then pointing to Mussolini he exclaimed, “ And there 
is the man who has made this possible.” Cheering 
began and Mussolini was called on to speak. He ex- 
plained the reasons for his resignation, saying that 
where there was a conflict of views and policy he 
could not lead them, but if they undertook to unite 
and follow one direction he would return and lead 
them through thick and thin. Grandi then stood up 
and declared in the name of the Congress that they 
all promised to be as “ one solid block of granite.” 
Grandi and Mussolini embraced and to the acclam- 
ation of the Congress Mussolini thereupon returned to 
the Executive fold and became from that moment the 
undisputed and sole head of the Fascist movement — 
il Duce, the man who must be obeyed. 


The Fascists, despite the fact that they had repre- 
sentatives in the Chamber, had not constituted them- 
selves a formal political party. In order to advance 
their campaign at all points both within and out- 
side the Chamber they began to move more and 
more towards the creation of a definitely inscribed 
party. In that tendency there arose in Mussolini’s 
mind at this period of the Fascist movement the 
necessity of choosing to continue as a republican 
movement or of acknowledging the monarchy. His 
aim was not to destroy the Italian Constitution but 
to create a system of government that would really 

. Against the idea of monarchy Mussolini’s sentiments 
had always revolted, but against the House of Savoy 
and its reigning head Victor Emmanuel he had no 
quarrel whatsoever — indeed he had wartime memories 
which linked his admiration and sympathy with his 
sovereign. When ill in hospital he had first met the 
King, and again later, when he lay so severely wounded 
in the hospital of Ronchi, Victor Emmanuel made a 
special visit to the bedside of the suffering revolution- 
ary Socialist, 

The meeting is recorded as having been particularly 
impressive and each recognised in the other a man 
confronting to the utmost the perils of the war for the 
salvation of Italy. There is however only assumption, 
only understandable assumption, for saying that the 
impressions made on Mussolini in these war years — 
when he saw the King untiring in his attendance at 
the front, and when he saw the King’s cousin the Duke 
of Aosta leading the Third Army which he loved — ^in- 
fluenced him in his fateful choice in 1921, To out- 
ward view there was no sentiment in Mussolini’s 
* IS9 


decision. He elected for a monarchist party as the 
best expedient for the political future of Italy. 

In the war waged against both subversive and con- 
stitutional parties and factions, Republicanism had 
never been declared a fighting issue by the Fascists. 
In fact, the sweeping Republican programme of the 
Reds had put the theoretical republicanism of Musso- 
lini more and more into the background of Fascist 
principles ; and Fascist hostility to the demo-liberal 
parties was directed not against the monarchical 
State but against what the Fascists considered to be 
their betrayal of the State, namely their failure to 
govern in the name of and for the protection of the 

‘Knowing the House of Savoy and its head to be 
valiant patriots of united Italy — living symbols indeed 
of that unity first achieved under Garibaldi and 
Cavour — Mussolini realised their high and important 
symbolic place in his dreamed-of post-war Italy with 
its Risorgimento programme completed by the inclu- 
sion of the new frontier provinces. Surely in such a 
greater Italy the Grown of Savoy must be the emblem 
of completion, and surely it should prove a great and 
unifying ally in the task of national consolidatiorrt 

'In a sense it was history repeating itself. Like the 
Republican Garibaldi in i86i, Republican Mussolini 
in 1921 accepted the dictates of statesmanship and 
deviated his course in favour of the Savoy monarchy. 
In both cases these two figures of Italian history were 
great enough to subordinate their personal ideals to 
national emergency. They each had only one standard 
of conduct, one touchstone of policy and action, one 
question which they asked themselves when faced with 
crucial issues — “ What is best for Italy 


Also, with numbers of adherents and sympathisers 
which were growing almost by thousands daily, 
Mussolini foresaw that to insist suddenly on the Re- 
publican character of his movement would be to break, 
perhaps even in provincial hlocs, the cohesion of his 
followers, as well as to invite attacks from a fresh 

There is another reason which would doubtless in- 
fluence Mussolini in his decision. In the event of the 
success of his projected revolutionary coup the main- 
tenance of the sovereign power in the hands of the 
ruling King would simplify the position from an inter- 
national point of view. « With a revolution developed 
inside the existing monarchical system, Mussolini was 
thereby automatically assured that the de jure quality 
of his revolution existed at the same moment as it 
became de facto — thus avoiding the necessity and prob- 
able compUcations of requiring any change in recogni- 
tion of his regime by foreign States, 

By becoming monarchical the Fascists also fortified 
their position with sympathisers in the Regular Army. 
We have seen, for instance, how Mussolini served with 
the Bersaglieri of Risorgimento tradition. It is diffi- 
cult to imagine this great regiment, with its popular 
war-time memories of Sergeant Mussolini, turning 
against a monarchical Mussolini. Indeed there is 
reason to believe that in the depots of the corps the 
Blackshirts found unofficial facilities. The abandon- 
ment of a republican programme also restored con- 
fidence among the industrialists ; but it is a mistake to 
assert, as some do, that they financed the revolutionary 
movement. Subsequent events shew that Mussolini, 
irrespective of whatsoever aid, did not sacrifice his 
independence of action or policy. The masses and 


strike-weary Labour already were rallying to him. 
The adherence also of the industrialists and strike- 
smitten Capital therefore marked an all-important 
but unprejudicial step towards that eventual co- 
operation of Capital and Labour which was the 
greatest and most difficult part of the Fascist leader’s 
plan. It is also a fact that in the search for a Minis- 
terial solution of the parliamentary failure to check 
the disintegration of government, the King — rm- 
ostentatious but ever alert to his country’s interests — 
made contact with Mussolini months before the March 
on Rome. 

During this phase of Fascism there were certain 
negotiations opened between Mussolini and influential 
Milanese Liberal representatives, such as Senator 
Albertini, owner of the all-powerful Corriere della Sera. 
The trend of these conversations was to see if Musso- 
lini would consider coalition, and if so, how many 
Cabinet seats would satisfy the Fascists. MussoHni’s 
demand for eight portfolios was refused. The discus- 
sion ended — and Mussolini moved to the organisation 
of the March on Rome with the consequent Blackshirt 
assumption of fifteen Cabinet posts plus the Premier- 

Mussolini’s views are expressed in a fighting speech 
delivered to the populace of Udine on September 20, 
1922. The date and the place were chosen to give 
added significance to his words — Udine, capital of a 
recovered Province ; September 20, anniversary of 
the September 20, 1870 capture of Rome by the 
Italian national troops of the Risorgimento. 

think it is possible to renew the regime in a 
profound way without touching the monarchy,” he 
said. “ Mazzini himself, Republican and master of 


Republican doctrines, did not consider these doctrines 
incompatible with a monarchical pact for Italian 
unity. He submitted. He accepted. It was not his 
ideal, but one cannot always realise ideals. We will 
therefore leave the institute of monarchy out of our 
play, which will have other more obvious and more 
formidable goals. We will also leave it aside because 
a great part of Italy would look with suspicion on a 
transformation of the regime which would go to such 
a point. We would perhaps have regional separatism. 
At bottom I don’t think that the monarchy has any 
interest to put obstacles in the way of what at last 
must be called the Fascist Revolution. It is not in its 
interests, because if it did it would at once become a 
target, and, once a target, it is certain that we would 
not be able to spare it, as it would be for us a question 
of life and death. Why are we Republicans ? Be- 
cause in a certain sense we see a monarchy that is not 
sufficiently monarchical. 

“ The monarchy should represent the historic con- 
tinuity of the nation. ... We must avoid that the 
Fascist Revolution puts everything at hazard. We 
must not give the impression to the people that every- 
thing must tumble and that everything must be rebuilt. 
One thing that must be done is clear, however : the 
demolition of the whole Socialist-Democratic super- 

The sentiments expressed in the Udine speech were 
part of the move towards the transformation of the 
fighting Fascist units and their adherents into a regular 
political party, with a party creed and programme. 
At this time Mussolini wrote in the Popolo d'ltalia a 
leading article which he entitled “ Towards the Fu- 
ture.” In it he said, “ Should Fascism become a 



Party ? After long reflection and close examination 
of the Italian political situation I have come to 
answer in the affirmative. The origin and course of 
the Fascist crisis which carries us to this cross-road 
creates for us a dilemma : either to make a party or 
to make an army. And to my way of thinking the 
problem solves itself in these terms : we must consti- 
tute a party, but one so solidly bounded and disciplined 
that it can, when necessary, change itself into an army 
capable of going into violent action, be it in attack or 
in defence,” 

And again in the Popolo d'ltalia, under the warmer 
title of “ Towards a Party ” he writes a few weeks 
later voicing the necessity of having a party doctrine. 
For this he chose a simple and historic formula — 
“ Fascism can and ought to adopt as its body of doc- 
trine the Mazzinian phrase, ‘ Thought and Action.’ ” 

Working further towards the party idea he again 
writes in October 1921 — “ To be a party is a gesture 
of coturage. It is a sign of youthfulness and daring ; 
an act of faith. It demonstrates that Fascism can 
undertake work of a positive nature in order to reach 
immediate and meditated ideals ; and this fact alone 
will give the lie to all those who maintain that we have 
no virtues beyond those of a pugilistic nature. Now is 
the time to yoke up the plough and, like the ancients, 
drive a dividing furrow around our ‘ Cittd quadratal 
That and nothing else is the party. That will signify 
the salvation of what is alive and immortal in Fascism 
and will prepare it for its task of to-morrow : the 
government of the nation.” 

Mussolini’s statements foretelling a regime of selec- 
tion and self-discipline, his speeches and writings in 
favour of monarchy, the Church, and class coUabora- 



tion, caused a certain amount of alarm, criticism and 
division among the Fascists. Many also could not 
appreciate his politico-philosophic writings on the 
function of the State. But those who ceded from the 
movement at this juncture only served to strengthen 
its chances and prestige, while the solid body which 
approved of the orientation, or rather the evolution, 
of the movement redoubled their strength in practical 
and moral consolidation. Many, however, still ad- 
hered whose ideas went no further than the opportunist 
and pugilistic stage. 

On November 6, 1921, the Fascists opened the Con- 
gress in Rome to which I have already referred. The 
members attended as representatives of irregular 
scattered groups of Fasci di Combattimnto. They left 
as representatives of a regular political unit — 11 
Partita Nazionale Fascista. But, as Mussolini told them 
in Congress, the party was one which was to add a 
moral code to its political code. 

In his programme for this Congress and for Fascism 
as a Party, Mussolini reveals that the principles 
established in Italy today were already established in 
his mind. He also reveals how, in the midst of poUticai 
contentions and faction fights, his mind was ever 
working on conceptions of politico-philosophy as the 
springs and aims of all his actions. For instance, in 
this programme Mussolini says, “ The nation is not 
merely the sum-total of living individuals, nor the 
instrument of parties for their own ends ; it is an 
organism comprising the unlimited series of genera- 
tions of which individuals are merely transient ele- 
ments — it is the supreme synthesis of all the material 
and non-material values of the race, and the nation 
has its legal incarnation in the State.” From these 



premises there issues the eonclusion that the State 
includes all, represents all — race, nation and individual 
concrete and spiritual. 

Having thus defined the State in terms that made 
his conception of it appear nothing less than the very 
body and breath of Italy, he proceeded to argue how 
its supreme mission could only be fulfilled by an execu- 
tive parliamentary and technical system devoted to 
considering all issues in the light of the State instead 
of in the light of political parties which represented 
merely competitive interests or theories. 

And again he showed what a definite and leading 
place foreign affairs held in his thoughts. A concep- 
tion of prestige abroad was, it can be seen, always 
hyphenated in his mind with his conception of disci- 
pline at home. With words of defiance he re-asserted 
Italy’s claim to the historic and geographical unity 
round Alpine and, specially, Adriatic-Dalmatian fron- 
tiers ; and he emphasized the role which Italy could 
play as a champion of the Latinity of the Mediter- 

These references to foreign affairs were merely an 
affirmation of policy. What is of more importance at 
this point is his affirmation of principles as above de- 
scribed in his definition of the State and its functions. 
It is only at the milestones of the march of Fascism that 
Mussolini pauses in the fray to voice his political 
pensiero. But step by step, gradual but always con- 
sistent, his idea can be traced from these first far-off 
days of 1904 when speculations of social thought first 
sent ideas flying among his surprised Socialist com- 
rades. We have seen how, through azione which in- 
cludes world-war and civil-war, pensiero becomes more 
and more clear — notably at the formation of the con- 


stituent of the Fascio di Combattimento in March 1919, 
at the Florence Congress in October 1919, and now a1 
the Rome November 1921 Congress, with Fascism at 
length a Party. 

In 1904 and other pre-war years he was, as I have 
already said, testing and discarding all creeds, trying 
every byway in his search for direction towards the 
perfectioning of Governmental ideals as he felt them. 
By 1919 he had found the road, and by the autumn 
of 1921 he was on the way for the conquest of power 
and the application of his now completed theory of 

^Everything now moved to a coup de main with Rome 
— Italian and Imperial — as his inspiration and goah 

We have seen how the Communists and Bolshevists 
lost their insurgent driving force after the split with 
the Socialists in January 1921 and how their activities 
in consequence became more desperately violent but 
sporadic. ‘ Fascist, Nationalist and Government action, 
backed by an ever-rising flood of public opinion, had 
gradually driven out the Red terrori Nevertheless 
these subversive forces still remained alive and ready 
to revive their attempts on the social life of the nation. 
During the late summer of 1922, when the Fascists 
were strengthening themselves as the National Fascist 
Party, the Communists made what was to prove their 
last organised effort to recover their lost ground. 

In an article entitled " Preludes to the March on 
Rome,” written by Mussolini and contributed to the 
review Gerarchia, he himself gives an account of these 
last efforts of the Reds. “ In August 1922 — that is 
two years after the Red occupation of the factories and 
only three months before the March on Rome— -Bol- 
shevism in Italy had been so litde liquidated that it 



attempted by means of the notorious ‘ Alliance of 
Work ’ to recover its full mastery of the political situa- 
tion and perhaps also power. It signifies nothing that 
there were also Socialist elements in the ‘ Alliance of 
Work.’ The character of that body was anti-Fascist 
and Communist, since it was the Communists who 
imposed their will. Its object was clear : to break 
Fascism with a series of street tactics combined with a 
politico-parliamentary manoeuvre. The constitution 
of the ‘ Alliance of Work,’ the secret of the names of 
its directors, the ubiquity of its centres showed that 
the general strike was able, according to circumstances, 
to change itself into an insurrection in the real and 
full meaning of the word.” 

The strike referred to was a general strike organised 
by the “ Alliance of Work,” which opened with 
lightening rapidity all over Italy in August 1922. 
There were the usual violent incidents. After an 
initial surprise success for the Reds, the Fascists, now 
an army of some 400,000 fighting men, were mobilised. 
They took over and ran aU the public services ; 
assailed the strikers, their papers, leaders and head- 
quarters ; harried out Communists and their Socialist 
allies ; and called on the strikers to return to their 
work, giving them a time-limit of twenty-four hours. 
Before this display of energy and resolution the strike 
completely and miserably collapsed. Socialist town 
counsellors were driven out and in Milan and Genoa 
the Fascists occupied the City Halls. 

“ With the defeat of this general strike,” writes 
Mussolini, “ Fascismo inscribed one of the finest and 
most bloody pages of its history. It was a clearing out 
of the last den of its adversaries. It was a demonstra- 
tion to Italians that it was possible to substitute the 


Government and at the same time guarantee the con- 
tinuity of the life of the nation. From August 1922, 
with the definite defeat of the ‘ Alliance of Work/ 
there remained only two forces on the Italian pohtical 
scene ; the demo-liberal Government and the armed 
organisation of Fascism.” 

Before following the course of the contest between 
these two remaining forces I must record an event 
which happened earlier in the year — an event which 
had no immediate influence whatsoever on Fascism 
but one which was in later years destined to be of 
immense importance in the history of Fascist Italy. I 
refer to the eleetion of Achille Ratti, on February 6, 
1922, to the headship of the Roman Gathohc Church 
as Pope Pius XI. 

As a papal nuncio and bishop) Mgr. Ratti was in 
Poland during 1919, when the Bolshevist invasion of 
that country took place. He refused to leave his post 
in threatened Warsaw when the rest of the Diplomatic 
Corps retired to the safety of Posen. And to him falls 
the credit of securing the liberation of many prisoners 
and hostages held by the Bolshevists. He was there- 
fore a man who knew at first hand all that Bolshevism 
and Anarchism really meant. In 1921 he was nomin- 
ated Archbishop of Milan, He was therefore a man 
who knew at first hand what that Milan citizen and 
anti-Red firebrand, Benito Mussolini, with his local 
newspaper the Popolo d' Italia and his Fascist forces, 
was doing to save Italy from a fate such as he had 
seen Poland suffer. The Archbishop was also a 
patriot : a man too of “ thought and action,” with 
clear ideas in his own head, and unusual will-power. 
His election as successor to Benedict XV. brought 
therefore to the throne of Peter in Rome a Pontiff’ 



presumably predisposed to appreciate the work of 
Fascism as far as he saw it. ‘ His independence of 
character also created conditions for the settlement of 
the Roman Question. In his decisions he has proved 
himself to be as untrammelled by the College of Car- 
dinals as Mussolini by the Chamber of Deputies « His 
accession to power must also have meant a decline of 
official Church support for the Popular Party, as it was 
composed on demagogic lines which often affiliated 
it to the Socialists, whom the Pope in his experience 
knew to be the door-openers to Communism. The 
subsequent attitude of the Vatican bears out this sup- 

Throughout the year 1922 the Government went 
from crisis to crisis. Cabinets rising and falling like 
cards. Bonomi’s Cabinet was re-shuffled three times 
and then collapsed. Facta, a protigi of GioUtti, was 
put into power ; but he had no control over his 
Ministers, almost every one of whom represented 
political, personal, productive and regional interests 
inimical one to another. The summer of 1922 saw 
more crises for Facta, but he managed to construct 
yet another Ministry. 

The Fascist handling of the August general strike 
above described revealed the presence of an authority 
stronger than Facta’s Cabinet. The country was 
sick to death of Governmental crises and party dis- 
orders and social unrest and general incompetence. 
A succession of economic difficulties and scandals 
stretching over the whole year undermined public 
faith in all political leaders. The budget debit balance 
piled up by millions of lire, industry lived from hand 
to mouth, commerce was at the mercy of graft, and 
affairs like the collapse of the Banca di Sconto, in- 


volving the loss of the savings of millions of Italians, 
all affected and depressed the nation. 

vin foreign affairs too they knew that things con- 
cerning Fiume were being dissipated in words, that 
Baros had been ceded to Yugoslavia, and that Italian 
interests in the Peace Treaties were being pulled along 
at the tail of France and Britain from Conference to 
Conference. Mussolini’s hour for a coup was all but 
ready. It only remained to make his dispositions 
and fix the zero hour for a march on Rome. • 


Mussolini given full Party Powers. Blackshirt Activity in the Alto 
Adige. The Position there. And in Naples. “ Quadrumvirate ” Ap- 
pointed. Military Dispositions. The Church’s Precaution. Fascist 
Diplomatic Mission. Proclamation of Mobilisation. Its Assurances. 
Facta orders State of Siege and Arrests. Order Revoked. Contact with 
King. Mussolini refuses a Portfolio. Blackshirts move on Rome. 
Mussolini offered Premiership. Fascists enter Rome. Mussolini Accepts. 
First Audience with King. Speech at Unknown Warrior’s Tomb. 
Mussolini becomes an International Figure. Demobilises his Troops. 
Calls his First Cabinet Meeting. 

M ussolini had always been the leader, in life and 
spirit, of the the Fascists ; but in view of the 
pending push he was formally given official powers by 
the Party Council at a meeting in Rome in September 
19Q2. From then on he was not only de facto but also 
dejure “ il Duce del Fascismo.^' 

I have already spoken of his activities in the northern 
regions. His movements there, together with the 
Fascist action at Bolzano in the Alto Adige (Southern 
Tyrol) and another action in October at Trento, were 
directed towards showing Italy that the Fascists were 
more capable of governing than the Government. It 
might be called a phase of moral strategy. 

In Bolzano the Blackshirts occupied the Town Hall 
and the schools, ordered the dismissal of Austrian 
officials and the disbandment of the local civic guard, 
who still wore the uniforms and emblems of the 
Austrian army. They opened the Austrian schools as 
Italian schools. In short they established Italian 



sovereignty over a German-speaking minority. This 
minority of Tyrolese highlanders represented one of 
the most disciplined and orderly races in Europe ; and 
the Fascist action against them was not intended to 
be a gesture of tyranny over a conquered people. The 
fault lay not with the Tyrolese, but with the Rome 

As we have seen, promises made after the Armistice 
in the form of a “ gentlemen’s agreement” to respect 
the local language and institutions, were, in the im- 
mediately succeeding period of Italian social chaos, 
accepted, thanks mostly to pan- German agitators, as 
meaning local language and institutions to the ex- 
clusion of Italian language and institutions. Nitti had 
led them to believe that he would grant them local 
autonomy ; Bonomi had not prevented them boy- 
cotting the King’s visit ; Giolitti and Facta left them 
to their own devices both politically and economically ; 
and the Socialists and Masons through international 
channels encouraged them in their defiance of the 
Italian Government. The Popular Party also confused 
the issue, because, as Catholics, they were not un- 
favourable to the continuance of Church arrange- 
ments which ignored frontiers. Fascist reassertion in 
these war areas roused Italy to a sense of its war-won 
rights and power. 

From the North Mussolini then switched attention 
to the South. On October 24 he convened a great 
Congress of Fascists in Naples. Over 35,000 Black- 
shirts were present In another speech such as he had 
made in Udine he foretold the approaching move to 
seize power. But he did so with a certain rhetorical 
style intended to keep the Government uncertain as 
to his real time-table and intentions. 



After the Naples speech Mussolini returned to 
Milan and to the offices of the Popolo d’ltalia^ which 
then became the headquarters of the diplomatic side 
of his revolutionary project, — a project already 
privately arranged, because at a secret midnight 
meeting in the Hotel Vesuvius in Naples on October 
22 the decision to march on Rome had been taken 
and the first dispositions made. At that meeting were 
Mussolini, Balbo, De Bono, Grandi, De Vecchi 
and Michele Bianchi, the Party Secretary. Already 
Mussolini had formed a “ Quadrumvirate ” for mili- 
tary and political action. The members of this 
Quadrumvirate of the March on Rome were Balbo, 
De Bono, De Vecchi and Bianchi. 

At the Hotel Vesuvius meeting it was arranged that the 
plan for the conquest of power should be as follows ; 

(1) occupation of public offices in the principal cities, 

(2) concentration of Fascist troops at Santa Marinella, 
50 miles northwest of the city, for the invasion of Rome 
at Tivoli 26 miles east, and at Monterotondo 16 miles 
up the Tiber from Rome, (3) Operation Headquarters 
at Perugia, (4) stronr reserve troops at Foligno, (5) an 
ultimatum of dismis^ to the Government, (6) advance 
of the three columns into Rome and occupation of the 
Ministries at all costs, and (7) Southern Fascists to pro- 
vide flank protection for moving columns. 

In the event of defeat ; (i) the Blackshirt troops 
were to retreat north-east into Umbria, covered by 
the Foligno reserves. (2) The constitution of a Fascist 
Government in one of the towns of central Italy. 

(3) Rapid advance and concentration of the Black- 
shirts of Mantua, Cremona, of Emilia and the Rom- 
agna. (4) Renewed advance on Rome. 

Mobilisation was secretly fixed for October 27, and 



the Quadrumvirate on October 24 set up their General 
Command Headquarters in Perugia. General De Bono, 
who had commanded an Army Corps on the Tren- 
tino front during the war, took command of the opera- 
tions, Balbo took command of the troops in the field. 
Bianchi did liaison staflFwork. De Vecchi, as head of 
General Staff along with Grandi, took the most delicate 
task of all — that of persuading the Government and the 
King to invite Mussolini to form a Government. 

The Holy See — sensing a fact which had even yet 
not seriously penetrated Government headquarters — 
namely, that the Fascists were brewing something 
serious and sudden, sent a message to Perugia asking 
what were the intentions of the Fascists with regard 
to the Church. The answer was that orders had 
already been given that the churches Were in every 
case to be strictly respected. . . » 

On October 25 the zone commanders got their final 
instructions. On the same day De Vecchi and' 
Grandi came to Rome to open their diplomatic mis- 
sion. They made contact with the two Liberal leaders 
Salandra and Orlando. De Vecchi told them to 
advise the King of the patriotic and loyal aims of the 
Fascists and he asked Facta to resign the Premiership. 

Facta wired to the King, who was at San Rossore in 
Tuscany, advising his return to the capital. As to 
the question of retiring from office. Facta played for 
time. On October 26 Facta had not definitely an- 
swered. On October 27 the Fascist “ Proclamation 
of Mobilisation ” was launched, It read : 


The hour of decisive battle has struck. This time foot 
years ago the national Army broke up the enemies’ soprojtte 
offensive and paved the way for victory. Today the army 


of the Blackshirts re-affirms that mutilated victory and, point- 
ing desperately to Rome, it re-leads it to the glory of the 
Capitol. Today all ranks, principes et triarii, are mobilised. 
The martial law of F ascism enters in full vigour. Under the 
orders of the Duce the military, political and administrative 
powers of the Party Direction are assumed by a secret Quad- 
rumvirate of action with a dictatorial mandate. 

The Army, reserve and supreme safeguard of the nation, 
ought not to take part in the struggle. Fascism renews its 
highest admiration of the army of Vittorio Veneto. Neither 
does Fascism march against the forces of public order. It 
marches against a class of faint-hearts and inefficients which 
for four long years has never known how to give a govern- 
ment to the nation. The productive middle classes know 
that Fascism wishes to impose only order on the nation and 
help all the forces that augment its economic expansion and 
well-being. The workers, in field and factory and office, 
have nothing to fear from Fascist power. Their just rights 
will be loyally cared for. With unarmed adversaries we will 
be generous : but with others, inexorable. 

'Fascism draws the sword to cut the Gordian knots which 
bind and paralyse Italian life. We call on God and the 
spirit of onr five hundred thousand dead to witness that only 
one impulse drives us, that we harbour only one will, that 
one passion alone inflames us : — to contribute to the salva- 
tion and the greatness of the Country, 


Maintain like Romans your spirit and your strength. We 
must conquer. We will conquer. Long live Italy ! Long 
live Fascism ! IL QIJADRUMVIRATO. 

On the day that the Proclamation was issued a great 
many things happened. The military part of the 
programme was carried out all over Italy according 
to plan and without resistance. The country was 
already with them to a large extent. Provincial cities 
were taken over. The three columns for the actual 


March on Rome moved to their appointed jumping- 
off stations ; the reserves, flank troops and the 
northern general reserve took up their appointed 

It is estimated that about yo,ooo men were on 
parade in Central Italy and Rome areas. In Perugia 
the town administration was assumed by the Black- 
shirts. At ten in the morning the Headquarters there 
intercepted two Home Office telegrams, one ordering 
a state of siege and the other ordering “ the immediate 
arrest by whatsoever means of all the members of the 
secret Cluadrumvirate and assistant leaders.” Three 
hours later came another wire revoking the order of 
the state of siege. 

In Rome the diplomatic mission worked feverishly 
on that October 27. The King returned to the 
Quirinal. Grand! scored the first victory : after twice 
seeing Orlando, Orlando went to Facta and per- 
suaded him of the necessity to resign. That night 
the Facta Cabinet handed in their portfolios. 

The next move — that for the formation of the new 
Government — ^lay with the King. Victor Emmanuel 
sent for De Vecchi. Grand! and De Vecchi were 
received in audience. The first thing that the King 
said was : “ I desire that all Italians know that I 
signed no decree for a state of siege.” The order had 
been issued by Facta before submission of the decree 
to the King, who, when he saw it, refused to sign — the 
order being then, as we have seen, at once revoked. 

The King asked Salandra to form a Ministry with 
Fascist participation and that evening De Vecchi and 
Grandi telephoned to Mussolini at Milan telling him 
that Salandra had offered him a post in the Cabinet, 
To this Mussolini replied, “ Refuse participation 



because I do not wish the Fascist victory to be 
mutilated.” Salandra then gave up the charge and 
suggested Mussolini as Premier. 

With the Blackshirt legions now closing into the 
approaches to Rome, affairs got to an impatient stage. 
By next morning Mussolini was informed that the 
King had invited him to come to Rome to form a 
Ministry. On receipt of the official invitation he left 
at once for the capital. By this time the advanced 
guards were at and within the gates. Mussolini broke 
his journey at Santa Marinella to review the moving 
column and see it entrain. Amid scenes of great 
enthusiasm he continued his fateful journey. On 
October 30 Mussolini in black shirt was received by 
the King. 

In answer to the Royal greeting Mussolini replied : 
“ I bring to Your Majesty the Italy of Vittorio Veneto 
reconstructed by a new victory.” He then presented 
his list of names for the first Mussolini Ministry. 

Outside the Quirinal Royal Palace the Blackshirts 
were massed, and a demonstration of loyalty was made 
when Mussolini left the Palace gates as Prime Minister 
of Italy. 

All three columns were now in Rome, bivouacked 
in the piazzas. The official estimation of the total 
strength which entered Rome is a little over 50,000 
men. Mussolini’s first speech as Premier was to a 
mass muster of these men before the National Monu- 
ment erected in memory of the Risorgimento. Form- 
ing part of this Monument is the Unknown Warrior’s 
Tomb. With that as a background the Duce said : 

Italians ! In the record and in the celebration of the great 
victory of our arms, the whole nation has refoimd itself and 
adjusts its conscience to the hard necessities of the moment. 


'The Government intends to govern and shall govern. All 
its energies will be directed to assuring peace at home and 
to augmenting the prestige of the nation abroad. Only 
with work, with discipline and with concord will our country 
definitely overcome all crises and march towards an epoch 
of prosperity and greatness.- 

As a first reassuring display of discipline he ordered 
the immediate evacuation of his Blackshirt troops from 
Rome. Within twenty-four hours they had gone in 
good order — a feat which was, incidentally, an extra- 
ordinary good bit of staff-work. Over all Italy the 
concentrations were demobilised — the general popu- 
lace, the forces of public order and the regular soldiers 
all rallying in friendship around the returning Fascisti. 

It is difficult nowadays to realise that even when 
Mussolini on that October day of 1922 became a 
national figure — despite the great past which he had 
played in events ever since the interventionist pre- 
war days — ^neither he, nor his character, nor his his- 
tory, nor his appearance, nor his movement was known, 
far less understood, outside of Italy. When it became 
necessary to telegraph reports of the March on Rome 
with descriptions of the new situation to newspapers 
abroad there were foreign observers, with an intimate 
knowledge of Italian political affairs as seen from 
Rome, who found themselves hard put to it to give a 
pen-picture of Mussolini or to explain what Fascism 
was all about. I cite this as evidence of the apparent 
suddenness of the rise of Mussolini’s name abroad. In 
Italy, especially in the north, much was known of his 
azione, but mighty little of his pensiero. Practically no 
Correspondent in Rome had set eyes on the man. 
They knew of him as the Duee of the Fascisti — a fight- 
ing party who chased Communists in the provinces, 


worried Deputies in Rome and broke strikes. They 
heard the March on Rome called a Fascist Revolu- 
tion. And from what they saw of it in the streets of 
Rome they thought it a singularly tame revolution — 
a sort of walk-over. 

The outside world, together with a surprising num- 
ber of Italians, did not reahse that the March on 
Rome was merely the culminating point of applied 
revolutionary action extending, as we have seen, back 
to 1919. And there was another thing that thousands 
of others even wearing black shirts did not realise — 
that the March on Rome was merely a starting-point 
of apphed revolutionary thought. To the populace 
of Italy Mussolini was just a new leader who had come 
to end misrule and to set the national house in order. 
That was all they knew ; and after their post-war 
agony it was surely enough. He came ; and was 
hailed as a saviour. 




" Combattcrc, Combattcrc, Gombattcre.” 



Collaboration Efforts. First Reforms and Changes. Mussolini warns the 
Chamber. Home Policy. Key Phrases. He speaks to the Senators on 
Liberalism. On " Constitutional Rails." Blackshirt Militia Founded. 
Grand Fascist Council Created. Movement Grows in General Popularity. 
Liberals lend Support to Fascist Government. Polemical Issues. “ Big 
Stick " Arguments. Comparative Calm. 

M ussolini did not attempt to exploit his victory by 
any immediate construction of a Ministry en- 
tirely Fascist ; neither did he attempt any sudden 
creation of a purely Fascist State. His first work was 
to patch up the broken parliamentary machine, to put 
government into motion and to initiate a rettirn to 
internal tranquillity and financial stability. When 
he took over, the national budget showed a deficit of 
seven thousand million lire — a millstone on the neck 
of a nation like Italy which has to purchase its raw 
material abroad before it can start to manufacture 
for home supplies and for export. The administrative 
and economic machine creaked at every coupling. 

Mussolini decided to try to begin his reforms on the 
structure of the existing State. For this purpose — and 
to give reassurance at home and abroad — he invited 
the collaboration of all the Constitutional parties, and 
between Ministers and Under-Secretaries he formed 
his first Cabinet of 15 Fascists, 3 Nationalists, 3 liber- 
als of tlie Right, 6 Populars and 3 Democrats, he him- 
self taking the portfolios of Home Affairs and Foreign 
Affairs ad inlerim as well as that of Premier. It has to 



be noted that this was not a Ministry of Coalition. 
No concessions were made to the parties represented 
in his Cabinet. That system was dead and gone as 
far as Mussolini was concerned. It was a Ministry of 
“ collaboration.” 

On the day that he formed his Government, Musso- 
lini resigned the editorship of the Popolo £ Italia, hand- 
ing over his desk to his brother Arnaldo. He then 
left Milan and established himself in Rome the Capital. 

The first flash of the Mussolini nature was revealed 
to the outside world in connection with his handling 
of the Italian Ambassadors. Being men of the former 
regime, and recognising the revolutionary aspect of 
the March on Rome, the Ambassadors at once offered 
their resignations from their posts in the foreign capi- 
tals of Europe. The resignation of Count Sforza from 
the Ambassadorship in France was announced (ac- 
cording to Fascist accounts) in the Paris Press before 
it had been tendered to the new Government in 
Rome. Mussolini, to whom Count Sforza’s foreign 
policy, or rather his method of developing Italy’s 
foreign policy, was anathema, peremptorily told the 
diplomat to withdraw his resignation and to stay at 
his post until relieved of it by Governmental com- 
mand. The formal act of dismissal came a few days 
later. With this and a few other incidents of a similar 
nature among some of the Civil Service staff it 
became at once patent that someone of an uncom- 
promising and masterful nature had not only mounted 
the Government saddle but had also taken a firm grip 
of the reins. Mussolini chose General Diaz, victor of 
Vittorio Veneto, as Minister of War and Admiral 
Thaon di Revel, identified with naval victories against 
the Austrian Fleet, as Navy Minister. This choice at 



one stroke bound the interest of the fighting forces with 
those of the nation and Government and created an 
immediate identification of the war-time victory spirit 
with the new regime. This feeling was further devel- 
oped on November 4, Italian Armistice, or Victory 
Day as they call it, when ceremonies and parades were 
for the first time since the war held all over Italy with 
whole-hearted Government backing and undisturbed 
popular acclamation. 

Measures were at once passed to ensure the loyal 
adherence of the bureaucratic machinery of the State, 
and to simplify the country’s fiscal system. Then on 
November 16, 1922, Mussolini made his first speech 
as Prime Minister. In this he outlined his programme 
to the Lower Chamber and to the Senate. The vio- 
lence of his opening remarks in the Chamber and the 
resolute hammer- blowintimation of his intentions shook 
up Parliament and made the country take notice. 

He told the Deputies that they were in the Chamber 
that day thanks to his clemency. “ Revolution has 
its rights,” he said, “ and I am here to defend and 
develop the revolution of the Blackshirts. I refused to 
make an outright conquest as I could have done. I 
put a limit to my actions. With my three hundred 
thousand armed men, prepared to dare everything 
and ready, almost mystically, to obey my orders, I 
could have punished those who have defamed and 
bespattered Fascism. I mighthave made thisbieakhall 
into a bivouac for my platoons. I might have closed 
down Parliament altogether and created a Govern- 
ment of Fascists alone. I could have done that, but 
such — at least for the present — has not been my wish.” 

Before his astonished listeners had recovered from 
this attack on their weakness Mussolini told them that 



he had formed a mixed Government not with the idea 
of having a parliamentary majority — “ today I can 
perfectly well do without that ” — ^but in order “ to 
gather together in aid of a gasping people all those 
who, with minds above parties, are desirous of saving 
the nation.” 

Mussolini then turned to policy and programme ; 
and, just as he did when he made his maiden speech 
as a Deputy, he began by a survey of foreign affairs, 
despite the national concentration of attention on the 
internal matters of the moment following his coup. 
For convenience’ sake I will consign the foreign-policy 
section of his speech to a subsequent chapter devoted 
to the foreign affairs and international repercussions 
of the new regime. 

'For home policy he reiterated the three words ; 
economy, work and discipline^ The following are 
key-phrases from his speech which reveal the whole 
aim and intention of Mussolini : 

By work is meant that of the productive middle and work- 
ing classes of town and country. No privileges to the former 
and no privileges to the latter ; but the protection of all 
interests that harmonise with those of production and of the 

Episodes of violence are sporadic and peripheric : never- 
theless they must cease. 

The citizens no matter to whatsoever party they may 
belong may move about freely : religious cults will be re- 
spected, particular regard being paid to the prevailing one, 
which is Catholicism : statutory liberties will not be injured : 
respect for the law will be exacted at all costs. 

The State is strong and will demonstrate its strength agmnst 
everybody, even in the event of possible Fascist illegality. 

The State does not intend to abdicate before anyone 


Whoever rises against the State will be punished. 

It must not be forgotten that beyond the minorities en- 
gaged in militant politics there are also forty millions splendid 
Italians who work, reproduce their species and perpetuate 
the deep strata of the race, and who ask, and have the right, 
not to be thrown into chronic disorder, sure prelude to 
general ruin. 

As sermons are evidently not sufficient, the State will pro- 
vide armed forces to protect it. The Fascist State will 
perhaps constitute a single police force, perfectly equipped, 
of great mobility and of high moral spirit. The army and 
the navy, no longer influenced by changes of parliamentary 
policy and reorganised, will represent the supreme reserve 
of the nation at home and abroad. 

I do not wish, as long as it will be possible to avoid it, to 
govern against the House ; but the House must realise its 
particular position, which renders it liable to be dissolved 
within two days or two years. 

We ask for full powers because we wish to assume full 

Without fbU powers you know that it would not be possible 
to economise even one lira. 

But we do not intend to rule out the possibility of willing 
collaboration, which we will cordially accept. All of us have 
a religious sense of our difficult task. 

The country encourages us and awaits. We shall give it 
not further words but facts. 

We are taking a formal and solemn pledge to balance the 
Budget — and we will balance it. 

We wish to follow a foreign policy of peace, although at the 
same time a policy of dignity and firmness, — and we will do it. 

We have undertaken to give order to the nation, — and we 
will give it. 

In peroration Mussolini made an appeal to the 
House and nation by saying : “ Let us work with a 
pure heart and an active mind towards ensuring the 
prosperity and greatness of the country,” and ended, 



“ Thus may God help me to bring my arduous labours 
to a victorious end.*’ 

On a vote of confidence in the Chamber the Musso- 
lini Ministry was given 306 votes against 116 and 7 

On November 17 he carried his arguments to the 
Senate. It will be recalled that Senator Albertini of 
the Corriere della Sera had made overtures to Mussolini, 
before the March on Rome, for a Liberal-Fascist 
Coalition Government. In course of a debate on this 
November 17 in the Senate, Senator Albertini in a 
powerful speech recalled the glories of Liberalism and 
Italy’s indebtedness to Liberal doctrines — all as a 
warning to the Fascists not to upset a system on which 
the Constitution of Italy was based. 

In reply Mussolini said : “ I owe a special answer 
to the Senator. I admire his firm faith in pure 
Liberalism ; but allow me to remind him that Liberal- 
ism is the child of two revolutions : permit me to recall 
that Constitutionalism in England, Liberalism in 
France — ^in fact aU the complex of ideas and doctrines 
which take the name of Liberalism and form among 
them the Nineteenth Century — issue from a fierce 
revolutionary torment of peoples, and that without 
that fierce revolutionary torment Senator Albertini 
woxild not today be able to table his eulogy of pure 

Mussolini then asked the Senate how would it be 
possible to get out of the internal crisis “ which every 
day becomes more agonising and preoccupying.” 
A Ministry of transition was no longer able to resolve 
the problem of a nation divided against itself. He 
then said ; “ After long meditation, I concluded that 
only a surgical operation could mzike the two States 


into one State and so save the fortunes of the nation.” 
Reverting to his wish to end violence, and giving 
proof of his desire that his Revolution avoid bloodshed, 
he told the Senators ; “ I have not gone beyond certain 
limits. I am not in the least intoxicated with victory. 
I have not abused that victory. What was to have 
prevented me from closing Parliament and declaring 
a dictatorship? Who could have resisted a party 
which has not only 300,000 inscribed names but 
300,000 rifles ? No one ! ” 

He then somewhat reassured the uneasy Senators 
by saying : “I have at once put the Fascist movement 
on the rail-tracks of the Constitution. I have made 
a Ministry of men from all parties in the Chamber, . . . 
but I look to technical values. Political etiquette does 
not interest me.” Defining, on this occasion, his 
Ministry as a “ coalition,” Mussolini concluded by 
calling on “ God and the People — the binomial of 
Mazzini ” to aid him in accomplishing “ the Third 
Renaissance ” of Italy. 

A week later the Chamber with a vote of 275 against 
90 approved a revolutionary measure conferring “ full 
powers ” on Mussolini. 

The Government thereafter settled down to carry 
out its plan of work — reorganising finances ; reviving 
industrial and agricultural production so long hin- 
dered by strikes ; reforming the bureaucracy, national 
and provincial ; trying to stop the bloody clashes 
which ever and again broke out between isolated bands 
of Fascists and Socialists. To discipline and control 
the innumerable decentralised bands of armed and 
elated Fascist squadristi they were in January 1923 en- 
rolled in a formally constituted body known as 
Fascist Volunteer Militia for the Defence of the State. 



This became a Government recognised internal army 
whose primary allegiance was to Mussolini. 

This was followed by the creation of the Grand 
Fascist Council — a consultative and advisory body 
under Mussolini and the Quadrumvirate of the March 
on Rome. It ranked — and still ranks — superior to 
Parliament. What it proposes today, Parliament does 

The ex-servicemen and war-wounded associations 
were granted juridical recognition as public institu- 
tions with special rights, and the “ Red Guards ” of 
Nitti were disbanded. Propaganda was begun for 
the full development of Fascist syndical trade unions. 
In an atmosphere of relative calm and hope such as 
the country had not enjoyed during its whole post-war 
experience the Italian people rallied more and more 
to Mussolini and his Fascists. The minority Opposi- 
tion in the Chamber, Senate and Press did not cease 
its criticism of the new order, but public opinion over- 
whelmed them. Many of the Liberals of the Right 
and Centre cast in their votes and support in favour 
of the Fascists and very many of the intellectual classes 
either actually joined the Fascist movement or else 
adhered to the rapidly growing army of flank sup- 
porters — ^the Jiancheggiatori. 

vAs the application of his programme moved from 
social and labour to industrial and financial problems 
each group thought themselves either menaced or 
favoured in turn, and so one heard of Mussolini, now 
as ” an agent of the capitalist classes,” now as “ an ill- 
disguised Socialist.” But in his speeches, in the Popolo 
cP Italia and in his action he insisted on the impartiality 
of his projects. The welfare of the nation was his only 
professed criterion, and collaboration his means.' 



The insistence of the Fascist trade unions, conceived 
on a collaborative employer and employee basis, in 
competition with the old unions ; a Governmental 
campaign against the Freemasons ; and a project of 
electoral reform opened the doors for polemical dis- 
cussions and conflicts during the spring and summer 
of 1923. But a tour with carefully arranged speeches 
of local colour carried out by Mussolini in all parts of 
Italy, including the South and Sardinia, quickly re- 
stored popular enthusiasm, despite many incidents 
of Fascist aggression against their opponents in the 
provinces. Those who remained faithful to their 
theories of democratic rule were silenced by the 
general reaction of public opinion in favour of order. 
Those who refused to be silent or attempted to thwart 
the work of the Government were cudgelled or other- 
wise tortured by being forcibly fed with castor-oil. 
Other repressive measures directed against opponents 
and critics were begun. The freedom of the Opposi- 
tion Press in its attacks against the regime was cur- 
tailed : but so far the real Fascist versus anti-Fascist 
campaigns had not started. 

The more the Communists and Socialists were 
silenced the more the Centre Democratic parties re- 
asserted their activities. As we have seen, the Fascists 
fought the Reds with revolver and with knife : the 
democratic critics were confronted with “ big stick ” 
arguments. i The epoch of wholesale and chronic 
strikes with their attendant international disorders and 
social upheaval was too recent in the pubUc mind for 
any popular resistance to be made against the methods 
of the new masters. For Italian national life 1922- 
1923 encompassed a period of comparative internal 




Key-Points from First Speech, Treaties, Debts. A Word to Europe. 
A Warning to Turkey. Entente Relations put to Test. Policy''' Nothing 
for Nothing." Uncertainty abroad. Nationalist Claims. Mussolini in 
London. King George and Qjieen Mary in Rome. Conciliative Step with 
Tugoslavia, Trade Treaty Policy. Deep but Unruffled Waters. The 
First Disturbance, 

I N that opening address which Mussolini delivered 
to Parliament on November i 6 j ig22, he changed 
Italian foreign policy from negative drift to positive 
drive. If the old party leaders were nonplussed by 
his downright and outright attitude towards home 
affairs, the chancelleries of Europe were no less non- 
plussed by his straight talk on foreign matters. It 
was something quite new to hear Italy talk in this 
way : here was a tone which did not suffer patronage : 
here instead was a surprising talk of rights with asser- 
tions for their furtherance. Let us follow the same 
course with this foreign affairs section of the speech, 
citing its key-phrases in Mussolini’s own words. 

The fundamental orientations of our foreign policy are as 
follows ; peace treaties, good or bad as they may be, when 
once signed and ratified are to be executed. But treaties are 
not eternal ; they arc not irreparable. They are chapters 
in history, not an epilogue of history. To execute them 
means to test them. If in the course of execution the 
absurdity of treaties becomes evident, this may constitute a 
new fact which opens out the possibility of subsequent 

j 62 


Trade treaties between two Powers are more useful for the 
purposes of European economic reconstruction than com- 
plicated and confused plenary conferences, whose woeful 
history everyone knows. 

We intend to follow a policy of dignity with national 

We cannot afford the luxury of a policy of insensate 
altruism or of complete surrender to the designs of others. 
Do ut des. 

The Italy of today counts, and absolutely must count. 

My formula is simple — nothing for nothing. 

For many reasons of an economic, political and moral 
character, (Italy does not intend to abandon her war Allies ; 
but Italy must subject herself, as also her Allies, to a cour- 
ageous and severe examination of conscience,— an examina- 
tion which has not been faced from the Armistice until now. 

Rome stands in the same line with Paris and London. 

Does an Entente still exist in the substantial sense of the 
term ? What is the position of this Entente vis d vis Germany, 
Russia and the possibility of a Russo-German alliance ? 

What is the position of Italy in the Entente, — of Italy 
which has lost, — not alone through weakness on the part of 
her government, — strong positions in the Adriatic and the 
Mediterranean, rvhile some of her fundamental rights are 
being brought back into discussion ; of Italy which has had 
neither colonies nor raw materials and is literally crushed 
under the weight of debts contracted in order to achieve the 
common victory ? 

In interviews which I shall have with the Prime Ministers 
of France and Great Britain I propose to face, wth all clear- 
ness and in all its complexity, the problem of the Entente 
and the consequent problem of the place of Italy within the 

The hypothesis mil arise out of this examination : Italy will 
either become really a homogeneous block with her Allies, with equal 
rights and equal duties or Italy, her hour having sounded for rt- 
stoning her liberty of action, will arrange loyally the protection of 
her interests by means of another polity. I trust that the first 
eoentmlity mil materialise. g 


A foreign policy like ours — a policy of national utility, of 
respect for treaties, and of just clarification of the place of 
Italy in the Entente — cannot be labelled an adventurous or 
imperialistic policy in the ordinary sense of the word. 

We wish to follow a policy of peace ; but not, however, 
of suicide. 

Italy will keep her pledges of assistance to Austria and will 
not neglect to undertake action of an economic nature also 
vis d vis Hungary and Bulgaria. 

When Turkey has had that which is due to her she must 
not claim more. At a given moment it will be necessary to 
say to Turkey : “ Up to here but not beyond ! At no cost.” 

Italy considers that the hour has now arrived for consider- 
ing in their present reality our relations with Russia, pre- 
scinding from its internal conditions, in which, in our 
capacity as a Government, we do not wish to interfere, — in 
the same way that will not allow foreign intervention in our 
affairs. We are therefore ready to examine the possibilities 
of a definitive solution. 

As to the post-war economic-financial problem, Italy will 
maintain that debts and reparations form an indivisible 

Despite its declarations in favour of peace the speech, 
at one stroke, made Italy an unknown quantity in 
the concert of Europe. In it Mussolini asserted liberty 
of action within the Entente^ and if that were not con- 
ceded on terms of equality, then he threatened to 
resume liberty of action outside the Entente. That 
move put Italy in play between the ex- Allies and the 
ex-Central Powers. It was Mussolini’s way of re- 
minding France and Britain of the unredeemed clauses 
of the 1915 Secret Treaty of London. 

Instead of haggling for an Adriatic bargain he put 
the whole issue of his future relations with Paris and 
London to the test. (^It was the first time that Italy had 
really turned on her war-time Allies and demanded 


' that they take notice of her. Complacency was a little 

Mussolini’s dictatorial policy for Turkey sent a- 
momentary thrill of uncertainty through the Govern- 
ments of those countries which for the first time began 
to fear the possible penetration of Italy into Near East 

For the first time, also, the Italian Government, 
through this speech, publicly and officially contributed 
principles of policy for the general reconstruction of 
European and world affairs ; qualified revision of 
peace treaties ; and the interdependability of repara- 
tions and war debts. 

Apart from Mussolini’s defiant phrases there was 
another factor which added to foreign disquietude. 
It was patent that he had taken the Nationalist Party 
and its affiliated associations to his bosom ; and it 
jwas accordingly feared that Italy was about to begin 
I a dictatorial application of that Party’s foreign policy. 
C The Nationalists, as we have seen, had a reactionary 
outlook on foreign affairs. To them the Mediterranean 
was Mare Nostrum^ “ Our Sea .” Nice, Savoy, Corsica, 
Malta, Tunis and even Egypt were places which, ac- 
cording to them, had been purloined from Italian 
sovereignty and ought to be restored. They insisted 
on the Latinity of the northern Alps. They invoked 
the old Roman place-names of the frontier posts ; and 
odd remnants of Roman dialects preserved in the 
remoter valleys were unearthed as battlecries against 
pan-German claims. To them the Adriatic was an 
Italian lake, and their kindred institutions like the 
Dante Alighieri Society quoted the poet to point their 
claims to Dalmatian shores — claims which were aug- 
mented by the architectural evidences of the culture 



left by Venetian conquests. The sculptured seals of 
the Lion of St, Mark on tovms from Fiume to Spalato 
were not to them mere archaeological relics hut 
challenges to reconquest, 3* 

These anxieties, and the first shock which several 
aspects of his Chamber speech on foreign affairs had 
aroused abroad, died down however to some extent 
in face of the pacific and constructive steps which 
marked Italy’s foreign contacts during the first twelve 
months of Mussolini’s rule. 

Trade agreements were drawn up with Switzerland, 
with the Baltic States, with Canada and with South 
America. The way was prepared for economic colla- 
boration. Ties with the Entente in fact were strength- 
ened by the Premier’s attendance at an Allied Confer- 
ence at Lausanne and by his visit to London in Dec- 
ember igaa, when he conferred with Bonar Law, 
Poincard and Theunis on the debts and reparations 
questions, tabling his thesis that they formed one and 
not two separate questions. Anglo-Italian friendship 
was reconfumed in May 1923 by the Royal Visit 
to Italy of King George and Queen Mary. 

Fears that Mussolini, in view of the stiU unresolved 
Fiume and Adriatic questions, was nurturing hostile 
intentions against Yugoslavia, were quietened by a 
conciliative step taken by the Premier almost as soon 
as he assumed office. Recognising that the Fiume 
affair must be settled somehow, he decided to make 
the best of the Treaty of Rapa llo ; and the Conventions 
of Santa Margherita formecT the basis of agreement 
with Belgrade. Accordingly, in February 1923 terms 
were concluded whereby the Italians evacuated the 
Sussak sector of Fiume but remained in what was now, 
according to the agreement, the “ Free State ” of 


Fiume. This included the Delta and Porto Baros, 
which Count Sforza had conceded to Yugoslavia, 
They also agreed to withdraw from all other points of 
the Dalmatian seaboard except Zara. 

This arrangement, however, was unsatisfactory for 
everyone — Italy, Yugoslavia and most of all for the 
” Free State ” itself. But it afforded the resemblance 
of relief to the Adriatic tension. The economic im- 
possibility of Fiume’s existence as a corptis separatum was 
left out of count for the time being. 

Developing his policy of b ilateral commerci al 
t reaties , Mussolini continued during this 1922-1923 
period to sign trade agreements with France, Austria, 
Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Spain, His 
Government approved the Washington Conference 
for naval reduction. In short, foreign opinion became 
reassured with the peaceful and constructive methods 
being followed by this revolutionary and outspoken 
leader of a new Italy. 

So far no question had been raised by any foreign 
Power which could put Mussolini’s principles to a 
ciucial test. (All the do ut des business was on a basis of 
reciprocal respect. ' And Mussolini at this phase of his 
policy himself raised no vital issue to challenge his 

Abroad, as at home, he was, in fact, quietly building 
up the prestige of his Government and country, mak- 
ing good the losses of the past ten years, and strength- 
ening Italy for whatsoever eventualities might befall. 

That was the position until August 1923, wljen the 
relative tranquillity of Mussolini’s Government was 
rudely shaken into violent action. And this first shock 
was in foreign affairs, an Albanian and Corfu incident 
with the Greeks. 



Italian Mission murdered in Albania. Mussolini holds Greece Responsible. 
Ultimatum to Athens. Corfu Bombarded. Refugees Hit. World and 
Geneva Reaction. Greece Accepts Italy's Terms. The Fiume Crisu. 

A 'ft Italian topographical military mission was, 
during August 1923, carrying out a delicate task 
to which it had been entrusted by the Peace Confer- 
ence of Ambassadors, namely, a local survey of land 
for a demarcation of the Greco-Albanian frontier. 
The Greeks were anxious that any deviation of the 
frontier should not compromise their complete mas- 
tery of the Corfu straits ; and the hostility of the 
Greek population began to manifest itself against the 
mission as they saw it working its way south into 
the zone which compromised their interests. That 
the work of the mission was merely to gather data 
and make a topographical report did not lessen the 
animosity of the Epirite natives, an animosity which 
also had expression in the Greek Press. 

‘On August 27, a group of men reported by eye- 
witnesses to be dressed in Greek uniforms, but be- 
lieved to be bandits, ambushed the Italians in then- 
car near Yanina. The entire mission, consisting of 
a general, a major of the medical service, a lieutenant, 
a soldier chaffeur — all Italians — ^and an Albanian 
interpreter, were massacred in cold bloodi 
‘News of this reached Rome on August 28. Musso- 
lini’s measures were immediate and energetic* On 


the same night the Italian fleet at Taranto was mobil- 
ised and the next day his Government presented 
Athens with a peremptory Note asserting the responsi- 
bihty of the Greek Government in that it did not 
afford adequate protection to a mission which was 
operating in conjunction with the Greek authorities, 
and that the Greek Government had not checked an 
inflammatory Press. The Note then demanded the 
fullest explanations and most solemn public apologies, 
an immediate and severe enquiry into the affair, a 
ceremony of expiation in Athens Cathedral with 
specific honours to the Italian flag, the arrest and exe- 
cution of the murderers and an indemnity of fifty 
million lire. 

'The Note was of course an ultimatum — ^it gave the 
Greeks twenty-four hours to accept the terms — and it 
came as a surprise packet for those who looked on the 
new-born League of Nations as the arbiter of peace. 
The cry of horror that the murders had aroused was 
nothing to the cry of horror that was raised when 
Mussolini decided that Italy should deal with this 
matter by herself and the terms of the ultimatum 
became known.' 

■ The Greek Government questioned its responsibility 
for the massacre, refused the capital punishment 
clause and offered other reparations, declaring that if 
these terms were unacceptable it was prepared to 
submit the affair to Geneva, Italy’s answer on the 
expiration of the twenty-four hours was the bombard- 
ment of Corfu. . 

On August 31 an Italian squadron appeared off the 
island. The intention to occupy Corfu was announced 
and as the Greek fliag was not lowered in surrendCT 
the battleships opened fire. Some of the shots hit the 


brt in which, unknown to the Italians, there was a 
arge concentration of Near-East refugees from Turk- 
sh territory. Accounts of the casualties among these 
mfortunate wretches vary, but the most authoritative 
ecord puts the numbers at 20 killed, including 16 
children, and 80 wounded. Italian marines thereafter 
brmaUy “ occupied ” the island. 

Greece iftimediately appealed to the League of 
Mations. World distrust of Mussolini’s political action 
ivas excited and angered by the news of the casualties 
among the refugees. 

^ Liberals of other countries who had watched the 
Fascist experiment in Italy with grave misgivings 
found in this Corfu incident the justification of all their 
fears. It was Liberalism which confronted Italy at 
Geneva. The Greek protest was accepted by Lord 
Robert Cecil and Geneva’s attitude was seconded by 
Lord Gurzon. The question of the Italian Mission 
brutally murdered while carrying out the mandate 
of the Conference of Ambassadors was by this time 
almost completely lost sight of. It was Italy not 
Greece that was on trial. While wilUng that the inci- 
dent should be examined by the Conference of Am- 
bassadors whose orders the mission had been carrying 
out, Mussolini instructed Sedandra to tell Geneva that 
if it decided to intervene then Italy would forthwith 
leave the League., 

,This threat put a brake on the gathering impetus 
of League action against Italy, but it had quite an- 
other effect on the world’s Press. With the bombard- 
ment of Corfu and the defiance of the League as 
starting-points, newspapers the world over opened 
an alarmist campaign in which every side and 
phase of Fascism was severely criticised.. Encour- 


aged by this apparent rise of anti-Italian or anti- 
Fascist feeling, Belgrade joined Athens in lodging 
protests at Geneva. Yugoslavia opened the Fiume 
question and pointed to the dangers of a repetition 
of the Italian bombardment on the Dalmatian towns 
of the Adriatic. 

The Conference of the Ambassadors stood outside 
the Geneva storm and repeated the Italian terms to 
Greece. Athens at length consented to carry out 
Italy’s demands. Immediately after their execution, 
Corfu was evacuated — and the League of Nations’ 
furore died down. Having duly received the 50 million 
lire indemnity, the Italian Government handed it 
back for distribution among the Armenian and other 
refugees of Asia Minor. Attention now swung round 
to the Italo-Yugoslav position and many people were 
convinced that a new war was imminent. 

The population of Fiume, badly governed, without 
finances or trade, was almost in a state of starvation. 
The corpus separatum was reduced to skin and bone. 
Complete economic emaciation was staved off by the 
appointment of a Governor with funds to revive at 
least the passive life of the ill-starred commimity. 
From being the be-all and the end-all of Italian foreign 
policy, Fiume had become a thorn in Italy’s flank. 
On account of the essential part it had played in the 
post-war assertion of Italian patriotism and in the 
development of the Fascist idea, and on account of 
the part that d’Annunzio had played in its bloody 
acquisition for Italy, the slogan of “ Italianity ” had to 
be kept up, even when the place had sunk to a mori- 
bund and superfluous port. Fiume had been one of the 
most spectacular ladders up which the Fascists had 
climbed to power. It would not do to kick it down 



now, even for Fiume’s own good. Blackshirt parades 
still waved flags in its streets and by its empty docks. 
At the end of 1923 Mussolini opened new negotiations 
with Yugoslavia for the final settlement of Flume’s 




Unrest Inside the Party and Without. Mussolini's Round-up. “ Ille- 
gality ” Accusations. Italian Masons. Freemasonry declared “ in- 
compatible " with Fascism. Papular's Trade Unions ousted. Demands 
to Disband Fascist Militia. " Pformalisation." Fiume settled. General 
Election. Opposition Disintegration, Fascist Victory. Opposition In- 
creases. Amendola and Matteotti. 

T he flood-gates of criticism which the Corfu and 
the Fiume questions had opened at Geneva and 
elsewhere abroad gave an appearance of anti-Fascist 
solidarity among Liberals and Democrats the world 
over. The same elements in Italy found encourage- 
ment in this to show more openly their opposition 
to the Fascist regime. 

Those of the right, including the old leaders, Salan- 
dra, Orlando and Giolitti, remained as flanking sup- 
porters of the Mussolini reformation ; but many from 
the Centre — influenced by the arguments against 
Fascism, or anticipating its collapse, or alone through 
loyalty to Liberal principles — began a drifl to the Left, 
where they joined the forces of the Popular and 
Socialist parties which were openly opposed to Musso- 
lini. Unruly groups and individuals among the 
Fascists — time-servers, bullies and opportunists— who 
had worked their way into posts of Government admin- 
istrative and Party control in Rome and in the pro- 
vinces, also helped to undermine the first popularity 
of the Fascist movement. 

Mussolini was only too aware of these undesirable 



followers, and efforts were made to purge the party. 
In this general unrest the Communists once more 
lifted their heads. They were no longer able to have 
any mass influence on the people, but they had old 
scores to pay off — and they paid them off with am- 
bushes and murders. Mussolini could evidently not 
yet afford to demobilise the fighting spirit of his 
squadristi or Militia, because the subversive forces were 
all still well armed. 

In a speech to the Senate on June 8, igcsg, Mussolini 
reported that during March and April of that year a 
round-up of “ the so-called subversive elements ” had 
been carried out together with the seizure of their 
munitions. He announced that in that period they 
had sequestrated 29,257 army pattern rifles ; 1048 
revolvers and automatics ; 7288 daggers and 249 
varied arms; 1,110,000 rifle cartridges; 82,000 
revolver cartridges ; 1086 bombs, petards and infernal 
machines ; 29 cases of dynamite ; 2,655 shot-guns, 
2444 sporting- type short-guns; and 1089 knives with 
dagger handles. 

The inevitable armed Blackshirt reaction to armed 
aggression built up a situation in which Italians 
were either Fascists or anti-Fascists. The question of 
the “ illegality ” of the raids carried out by the squad- 
risH under the aegis of the Government raised consti- 
tutional issues which inflamed the Liberal theorists, 
but did not move Mussolini from his double task of 
suppressing disorders and trying to keep his own 
followers from contributing to these disorders. He 
judged from the history of Italy and from his know- 
ledge of the present situation that any concessions 
to the old demagogic principles of democratic rule 
must lead to a fresh influx of the extremist Left 



with repetition of the old disasters of strikes and social 

In his task of clarifying the attachment of his own 
Blackshirts and of many who were not actually of the 
Party, Mussolini in 1923 and in 1924 openly declared 
war against the Freemasons. On February 12, 1923, 
the Grand Fascist Council decided “ that in view of 
recent political events and the attitude and decisions 
of Freemasony, which justify the belief that Free- 
masonry follows a programme and adopts methods in 
contrast with those inspiring all the activity of Fascism, 
the Grand Fascist Council invites all Fascists who are 
Masons to choose between one or the other and to 
belong either to the National Fascist Party or to Free- 
masonry, since there is only one discipline — that of 
Fascism, and only one obedience — that of absolute 
loyal and daily obedience to the head and the leader 
of Fascism.” 

International Freemason reaction hastened the con- 
clusion of Mussolini’s measures. In August 1924 the 
Fascist Council resolved that it was “ incompatible 
for any Fascist to belong to any sect or secret society, 
and especially to Freemasonry, whether of the Gius- 
tiniani Palace or of Piazza del Gesii.” An internal 
schism had divided Italian Masons into two groups 
popularly known by the name of the buildings they 
occupied in the Giustiniani Palace and the Piazza del 
Gesh. The Giustiniani Masons had been attacking 
latter-day Fascism while the Piazza del Gcsii Masons 
had been striving to display loyalty. Both claimed to 
have contributed to the March on Rome and Masonry 
had old ties with Italian nationalism dating to Ris- 
orgimento times ; • but Mussolini considered that 
Masonry, as a secret international body, had not only 


given evidence of influences, tendencies and actions 
inimical to Fascist absolutism, but that its hour had 
struck as a vehicle of patriotic service. It was a move, 
however, that won him favour in the eyes of the 
Vatican* To say that it was done for that purpose 
is to ignore Mussolini’s old and known hostility to the 
Masons, already rampant, as we have seen, in his pre- 
war Socialist days. 

Tf his anti-Masonic measures won the approval of 
the Vatican at this juncture, his Syndicalist trade 
union progress got him the increasing enmity of the 
Clericals as far as these were represented by Don 
Sturzo and the Popular Party. The so-called “ Chris- 
tian ” Trade Unions were the apple of Don Sturzo’s 
eye and liis strongest weapon of power among the 
masses. The gradual penetration of the Fascist 
Unions, backed up by laws and physical persuasion, 
rapidly ousted Church influence — and again added 
to those working against the new regime. 

These events at home and abroad were exaggerated 
in Press polemics, Fascist and otherwise. The air was 
foul with the mud and flying garbage of newspaper 
diatribes. The grossest insults, the vilest accusations, 
scandal-mongering and incentives to violence filled 
column after column of a Press only controlled, on 
every side, by fear of raids and thrashings. 

Through all this Mussolini ploughed his way with 
a steady programme of Fascist reforms. Confident in 
the knowledge that he carried the country with him, 
and impatient with the drag which his effort at party 
co-operation was imposing on his progress, he decided 
to put the whole issue to the nation. In the Spring of 
ip24 he accordingly dissolved the Chamber and 
ordered a general election. 


The decks were cleared for his appeal to the ballot 
box, so that the campaign was fought out on the ques- 
tion of “ normalisation.” The Opposition and anti- 
Fascist forces wanted the Blackshirt Militia abolished 
and the old parliamentary system restored in its 
entirety. Mussolini on the other hand intended to 
demonstrate that Fascism, with the Blackshirt Militia 
as the integral expression of its character and the 
guarantee of its strength, had a normalisation of its 
own to give to Italy — the normalisation of unhindered 
business government. 

The question of Fiume which had for so many years 
confused and complicated Italian affairs, home and 
foreign, had at length been settled and so did not add 
to the difficulties of the election. The Fiume affair 
was arranged at the beginning of 1924 by Italy hand- 
ing back Porto Baros and the Delta to Yugoslavia. In 
return for Italian recognition of full Yugoslav sovereign 
rights over these sectors and Sussak, Yugoslavia recog- 
nised full Italian sovereign rights over Fiume. And 
thus the work of d’Annunzio was completed. In 
recognition of this the poet was created Prince of 
Monte Nevoso, the mountain which marks the limits 
of Italy’s frontier at that part. On March 16, 1924, 
Fiume, in presence of the King of Italy, celebrated its 
annexation to the Kingdom of Italy. And that was 
that for better or for worse. The Convention for 
Fiume formed part of the Treaty of Friendship signed 
at Rome on January 27, 1924, by Mussolini and 

jPolling day for the general election in Italy was fixed 
for April 6 and the electoral campaign was developed 
with such bitterness and strife, with such fights and 
casualties, that it sometimes looked as if Mussolini 
w iyj 


was beginning his Revolution all over again. The 
exigencies of the contest revived the combative spirit 
of the squadristi and additions were made to their 
ranks which added more to the strength than to the 
discipline and credit of the Militia. 

It is instructive to note that even in 1924 the fatal 
blight of political divisionism still persisted among the 
democratic elements of Italy. Apart from the Fas- 
cists, no.\fewer than twenty-three parties or groups 
came forward with lists. The names and programmes 
of these parties revealed that the old regional interests 
of which I have written in the chapters dealing with 
pre-war parliamentarianism sprang up again as soon 
as the Communist menace had died down — ^parties 
which were the affirmation of parochialism and of 
suicidal political hair-splitting ; groups which were 
the negation of unity and, in their multiplicity, the 
self-willed negation of the very democracy they pro- 
fessed to worship. In fact several of the parties had 
so little politico-philosophical basis at aU that they were 
named after their provincial leaders. 

It is enough to read the titles of these parties to 
understand how democracy collapsed before the 
cohorts of the Fascists rmder one directing mind. 
The list of parties for the 1924 suffrage included the 
' following : the Pellegrino Labour Group ; the South 
Italian Liberals ; the Unitarian Socialists ; the Sec- 
ond National List ; the Popular Party ; the Liberal 
Flankers ; the Social Democratic Party ; the South 
Italian Constitutional Opposition Party ; the Graz- 
iano List ; the Republican Party ; the Italian High- 
land Constitutional Opposition j the Native German 
and Slav List (Allogeni) ; the Independent Demo- 
crats ; the Dissident Fascist Group ; the Peasants’ 


Party ; the de Beilis List ; the Sardinian Party of 
Action ; the Liberal (GioKttian) Party ; the Com- 
munist Party ; the Flamingo List ; the Independent 
Liberal Party ; the Italian Socialist (Maximalist) 
Party ; and the National Fascist Party. 

The poll of April 6 was exceptionally heavy for 
Italy — sixty-three per cent of the total electors ; and 
it was a clamorous victory for Mussolini and the 
Fascists. Out of the total 7,151,334 votes recorded 
the Fascists scored 4,294,815 — surpassing by millions 
their two nearest rivals, the Populars and the Unitarian 
Socialists, the former getting 646,022 votes and the 
latter 419,946 votes. It will be noted that the official 
Nationalist Party, whose rise in 1911 and progress 
thereafter has been traced in these pages, does not 
appear, save as a “ rump,” in the 1924 election lists. 
As an act of consolidarity that historic Party, long 
before the 1924 elections, formally merged itself in the 
Fascist Party, The committees of the two parties had 
officially co-operated ever since November 30, 1922 ; 
the parties were fused on February 26, 1923, 

When the new Chamber met in June it had at least 
on the right and back benches an unusually youthful 
appearance, because the Fascist Government had re- 
duced the age minimum from thirty to twenty-five and 
many of the new Deputies were just within the limit. 
In a division of Fascists and anti-FascLts — ^for that was 
what in effect the Chamber resolved itself into — the 
Chamber for most issues could be divided into 380 
Fascists and 155 anti-Fascists — the Fascist Party’s 
actual 355 Deputies getting the support of the Dissi- 
dent Fascist and National rumps, the provisional sup- 
port of the Giolitti Liberal and Constitutional Demo- 
cratic groups. The Opposition at this stage was made 



up of all the other numerous sectors of Left opinion in 
three blocs led by the Populars, the Socialists and 
Communists, and the Democratic Socialists. Most of 
the old leaders like Salandra and Giolitti and Orlando 
were returned, but Mussolini formed what was practi- 
cally a Fascist Nationalist Cabinet, taking over himself, 
as extra portfolios, Foreign Affairs and that of Air 

It was at once apparent when the Chamber first 
assembled after the elections that trouble was brewing. 
Despite the sweeping Fascist victory, which really 
represented general public conviction, the Opposition 
mobilised themselves into a keen and sleepless critical 
force — more so than even before the elections, when 
their opponents were fewer in the Chamber and were 
without the mandate of the suffrage. 

The first thing attacked was the validity of the elec- 
tions. The Fascists were openly accused of violating 
the liberty and secrecy of the voting booth and of in- 
timidating the electorate. Mussolini in a long speech, 
delivered after the debate on the Speech in reply to 
the Crown, admitted and deplored certain acts of 
Fascist aggression and said that the perpetrators 
would be punished. On the other hand he said that 
the Fascist casualties during the elections were i8 
killed and 147 wounded. He told the House “ to get 
it well into their heads ” that he did not intend to dis- 
band the Militia, but that nevertheless he meant to 
transform it into a more regular arm of the State. 

He welcomed the fact of an Opposition “ as educa- 
tive and formative,” He declared that it was not the 
Opposition but its manner of opposing that irritated 
him ! He told them, however, that he was going to go 
right ahead with his programme despite the Opposi- 


don’s accusations of flouting liberty, of acting illegally 
and of refusing their definition of “normalisation.” 
“ We feel that we represent the Italian people,” he 
concluded, “ and we declare that we have the right to 
fight on and to demolish the sterile monuments of your 
ideology ; we have the right and the duty to scatter 
the ashes of your hatreds and also of our own, in order 
to cure the august body of the nation with a potent 

Mussolini’s speech, while affirming his personal 
determination to carry through his projects at all costs, 
was a challenge to the Opposition which was answered 
with a disturbing sequence of minor incidents, irri- 
tating and disquieting for the whole country. The 
two most persistent, outspoken and influential leaders 
of the Opposition groups — that is, the anti-Fascist 
bloc— ■were Giovanni Amendola and Giacomo Matte- 
otti. Amendola had been a member of the Cabinets 
of Nitti and Facta. He was the political writer of the 
principal Liberal newspaper II Mondo and was the 
leader of the Constitutional Opposition. Matteotti 
was Political Secretary of the Unitarian Socialists. He 
was a wealthy man, cultured and held in affection by 
all who knew him. 

While Amendola in his speeches attacked Fascist 
principles and methods, Matteotti attacked Fascist ad- 
ministration and administrators. Despite the turmoil 
of the period, Mussolini’s speech, above referred to, 
had made a good eflfect on public opinion. The coun- 
try was with him, and the prospects of a return to 
normality were good, when the news of the “sup- 
pression ” of Matteotti fell like a bolt from the blue. 

The murder of Matteotti is virtually a barred sub- 
ject in Fascist Italy, not because of the disagreeable 



facts inherent in the crime itself, but on account of the 
political speculation which has been attached to it. 
(.The affair plays a very important part in the history 
of the Fascist movement. It led to a series of events 
which provoked the dissolution of any further attempt 
at collaboration and hastened the applications of 
Mussolini’s political ideas on a basis of absolutism.* 


The Kidnapping and Murder of Malteoiti. Public Horror, Fascist 
Action. Arrest of Suspects. Mussolini’s “ Solemn Oath." Opposition 
Opportunism. Retirement to Aventine. The “ moral question." Musso- 
lini Outlines Reform, Farinacci, Effect Abroad. Murder of Casalini. 
Country begins to rally back. Aventme Suicide. The Budget Balanced. 

O N the afternoon of June lo, 1924, the Unitarian 
Socialist leader Giacomo Matteotti left his house 
by the Tiber side — and did not return. His wife re- 
ported bis absence to the police on the following day, 
and witnesses came forward to say that they had seen 
him assaulted at his doorstep and, struggling, thrust 
into a motor car which then drove off at high speed 
northwards out of the city. The news of the kid- 
napping spread like wildfire, causing a ferment of emo- 
tion everywhere. The general conviction was that he 
had been assassinated, and the Opposition conviction 
was that he had been assassinated by Fascists. On 
J\me 12 Mussolini announced that he had himself 
given orders to the police to intensify their search for 
the missing Deputy and added that they were already 
on the tracks of suspects. " Nothing would be 
neglected to throw light on the affair, to arrest the 
guilty and deliver them to justice.” Within twenty- 
four hours the bloodstained car was traced and the 
three men who rode in it with Matteotti were arrested- 
A group of their associates who belonged to the Ardiii 
Fascists of Milan was also arrested. Mandates of 
arrest were issued against three prominent Fascists who 



were suspected of being behind the crime : Cesare 
Rossi, Head of the Cabinet Press Bureau at the Home 
Office ; Marinelli, Secretary-General of the Fascist 
Party, and Filipelli a Fascist editor. Of these three, 
Rossi ultimately escaped to France, to be captured by 
the Fascists much later. 

A feeling of horror swept over the country which 
was shared in by all respectable Fascists and by none 
more than Mussolini, who saw all his plans threatened 
with ruin at one blow. In the Chamber Fascist after 
Fascist rose to denounce the deed. “ We can hardly 
say whether our indignation or our humiliation is the 
greater,” was one phrase spoken which reflected the 
party feeling. “ Only some enemy of mine who lay 
awake at night plotting something devilish against me 
could have thought out this crime,” cried Mussolini 
when giving his solemn oath in the name of his Gov- 
ernment and Party that justice would be done regard- 
less of consequences. 

The crime as a crime rapidly fell into second place. 
Its poHtical implications soon completely dominated 
the aheady confused situation. The Premier’s imme- 
diate efforts to bring the actual criminals to justice, 
together with a speeding-up of party reform, only par- 
tially assured a public whose faith in Fascism had been 
rudely shaken. Mindful of what the new regime had 
done for the social recovery of Italy, the people never- 
theless could not reconcile the ” right ” with the 
“ might ” of Fascism. Italy yearned for the return to 
normality which had been promised them by Musso- 

The more violent elements among the Opposition 
parties— unlike the people — were not troubled with the 
niceties of private conscience and public good except as 


a wholesale anti-Fascist and anti-crime weapon. They 
seized the strong arguments to hand. Along with the 
Socialists and Communists they made widespread 
propaganda of Matteotti’s death, taunting the Fascists 
and inciting the public against them. Indeed the 
middle Parties danced to the Socialist piping and lent 
almost the whole weight of their Press to an endeavour 
to destroy the existing regime. 

As a protest the Opposition parties left the Chamber, 
Likening their action to that of the plebs in the internal 
struggles of early Rome they declared that, meta- 
phorically, they had withdrawn to the Aventine, 
They created what they called “ the moral question ” 
and indicated in a confusion of manifestos the terms 
upon which they would return to the Chamber and 
parliamentary rule. Their principal demands were the 
abolishment of theFascist Militia ; Mussolini’s abandon- 
ment of full powers ; the dismissal of the Government ; 
the dissolution of the Chamber ; and new elections. 

The Communists, with more astute political wisdom, 
did not desert the Chamber. They recognised that 
their best pitch for the political battle into which the 
Matteotti crime had degenerated was either the barri- 
cades or Parliament, certainly not a remote Aventine. 
The old leaders, Giolitti and Salandra, also saw the 
Constitutional Opposition’s mistake, so they too 
stayed in the Chamber, but no longer as definitely 
flank supporters of the Fascists — although in a re- 
adjustment which Mussolini had made in his Cabinet 
to restore confidence, he replaced Fascists by members 
of the Liberal groups. The Under-Secretary of Home 
Affairs was dismissed and Mussolini himself handed 
over his Home Affairs portfolio to the ex-Nationaliat 
Federzoni. The March on Rome Qiiadrumviratc De 



Bono, who was now Chief of Police, was also moved to 
another post. 

Even the ex-Servicemen (800,000 strong and well 
organised in their various associations), while always 
in sympathy with Fascist ideals, wrestled with doubt 
and offered conditional allegiance. The Labour 
trade-union members now within the Fascist trade- 
union organisations grew boldly restive. With the 
country excited up to this condition the Opposition 
redoubled its attacks, provoking fierce replies and 
fiercer incidents. The Press preached revenge. 

In the Senate — a body supposedly non-party in 
character but mostly composed of men of the old 
school of Democratic, Liberal thought — Mussolini 
outlined his programme of reform and defied the 
Opposition. He reminded the Senators that his 
party was a revolutionary one, and added : “ Insurrec- 
tions, like all great social movements, bring together 
the good and the bad, ascetics and rogues, idealists and 
profiteers, those who are violent from motives of 
fanaticism and those who are violent from motives of 
lucre. Selection, diflacult enough in normal times, is 
much more difficult in exceptional times ; and it 
sometimes happens that the need of revision is accel- 
erated by the alarm-bell of some unexpected crime.” 
His work of selection, he explained, had been more 
than ever difficult with the enormous heap of problems 
and work which had confronted him since the March 
on Rome. 

Analysing the behaviour of the various parties of 
the Opposition Mussolini told the Senate ; 

The Communists have tried to profit by the xmfortunate 
episode to incite the masses to a general strike and to restore 
the dictatorship of the workers and the peasants. But there 


has been no strike, because the masses have repelled the 
Communist suggestions. The rhythm of labour, except for 
a few hours in hmited localities, has not been disturbed. 

The Repubheans have once more demanded the recon- 
struction of the Constitution, — an absurd demand, which has 
no political or historical justification half a century after the 
National Plebiscite. 

The Constitutional Democratic Opposition tend to avoid 
the Aventine bloc because they do not think it opportune 
to take on extremist responsibilities. 

The Maximalist Socialists, the Unitarian Socialists, the 
Populara and the other lesser elements advance absurd pre- 
tensions which aim at a species of coup d'Etat with the inten- 
tion of annulling the sufirage of April 6. 

Mussolini then re-affirmed his own attitude ; 

The goal of my general policy of government remains 
unchanged : to achieve, at whatsoever cost, political nor- 
mality and national pacification ; to carry out, with as- 
siduous daily vigilance, the process of purification of the 
Party ; and to dispel energetically the last residues of any 
non-legal behaviour. 

This speech had good effect. Out of 252 Senators, 
225 passed a vote of confidence in Mussolini, 21 voting 
against and 6 abstaining. The result on the country 
was steadying. The discovery of the body of Matteotti 
dead in a ditch about twelve miles north of Rome re- 
kindled the fuel, but as far as the Government was 
concerned it only meant the hastening of the prelim- 
inaries for the trial of suspects held in arrest — a task, 
however, which was hindered by an action against 
De Bono, as will be duly described. 

The aim of the Opposition was to fasten responsi- 
bility for the Matteotti crime on to the Fascist Govern- 
ment. It insisted that there existed in the Home 
Office a species of Cheka. They blamed General De 



Bono, alleging that as Chief of Police he was cognisant 
of the kidnapping plan and made it easy for the 

During that summer of 1924 the anti-Fascist cam- 
paign in the provincial areas raged with special bitter- 
ness and bloodshed, with enormous mass manifesta- 
tions organised by the Fascists in Bologna, Florence, 
Turin and Venice. Out of this tempest there blew 
the figure of Farinacci. He was a “ first-hour ” 
Fascist of Cremona, well known to his Party and 
Province. He now became a national figure whose 
extremely energetic, hot-spirited and uncompromising 
character, coupled with personal integrity, made him 
the leader of the Blackshirt counter-offensive. ♦Just as 
Mussolini was the symbol of the spiritual intransigence 
of Fascism, so was Farinacci the symbol of its physical 
intransigence.t The Fascists had marched on Rome, 
and Farinacci saw to it that they would march on any 
place or against any person who opposed them now. 

In the Opposition newspapers and in the democratic 
Press of foreign countries, Mussolini and the Fascists 
were depicted as tyrannous ogres who should be wiped 
out — ^wiJd extravagances of expression which gradually 
disgusted the Italian masses, who began to realise that 
the whole attack was all a sinister political game 
detrimental to Italy. Feelings were then shocked into 
reaction by another murder. This time it was a 
Fascist Deputy, Gasalini. He was slaughtered by a 
Communist in a crowded public tramway in the centre 
of Rome. 

In the immediate Government orders to the Fascists 
demanding restraint and forbidding acts of revenge, 
and in the practically complete obedience to these 
orders — in face of a provocation that moved even the 


non-partisan elements througliout Italy — ^popular con- 
fidence in Fascism began to be reborn. The gulf be- 
tween the Fascists and the flanking Liberals became 
almost bridged. The ex-Servicemen looked again 
towards their old friends and champions. Mussolini 
touring the country north and south was everywhere 
met with the acclamation of a people whose enthusiasm 
for Fascism had apparently been restored. The move- 
ment was once again the symbol of national cohesion 
and progress. The Duce was again hailed, as before, 
the inspired leader of Italy, 

The more the people rallied to Mussolini the more 
desperate the Opposition became in its effort to pro- 
long interest in the Matteotti case. It was their only 
weapon left, because their political Aventine cam- 
paign failed for the same reason that all campaigns 
demanding cohesion among Italian political parties of 
the old school had failed ever since 1870 — they could 
not agree. 

Not even the drastic decision to withdraw to the 
Aventine could induce the various parties concerned 
to take common action. Instead they split themselves 
up into still smaller groups. They created new parties 
and camouflaged the old ones under new names so as 
to tempt desertions from Fascism. That was about all 
they achieved. In short they went on to the Aventine 
and proceeded to commit political suicide. 

When they realised their tactical mistake, when 
they saw that the country was not following them m 
masse, and when they witnessed the Fascist recovery, 
the Aventine parties, some in groups and others indi- 
vidually, tried to re-enter the Chamber. It was then 
that they met Farinacci in Rome. Broken as a moral 
entity they were easily dispersed — and their dispersion 


meant the debdcle of the Opposition as such. Hence- 
forth they were looked on as anti-Fascist, and treated 
accordingly. The bludgeon and the castor-oU bottle 
which had terrorised the Communists and Socialists 
became the means of reducing to impotence the last 
leaders of the Democratic parties in Italy. 

In the midst of all this trouble, which had looked 
like wrecking Fascist stabilisation, a very remarkable 
piece of news was published. It was announced that 
the National Budget had not only been balanced, but 
that there was a surplus. At the time of the March on 
Rome the Budget deficit was 15,760 million lire. In 
one year of reform that deficit was reduced 
to 3,028 million lire ; by 1923-1924 the deficit had 
shrunk to 419 million lire. The 1924-1925 balance 
showed a surplus of 417 million lire. This apparent 
miracle was performed by Finance Minister De 
Stefani, one of the most remarkable men in Musso- 
lini’s movement. De Stefani had been a Professor of 
Economics at the Technical Institute of Vicenza, a 
modest retiring expert with ideas of his own — a man 
quite imknown outside his immediate circle. Musso- 
lini had faith in his theories, and De Stefani more than 
justified that trust. His triumph in this matter of 
balancing the Budget, by restoring a sense of confi- 
dence, contributed in no small measure towards 
recovering the shaken prestige of the revolution. 

In June 1924 the Opposition and anti-Fascists had 
taken the initiative. When the year closed they had 
lost it. 



Mussolini claims Responfibility, Attacks Avtnlime. Fascism beromrs 
Absolute. Corporate State outlined. Capital and Labour both warned. 
Constitutional Reform Commission. The Fascist “ Way of F.ife.’’ “ The 
Goal is Empire.” 

O N New Year’s Day, 1925, Mussolini retook the 
initiative and moved rapidly to a political 
counter-attack against the Opposition anti-Fascists. 
The assault was unexpected, strong and frontal. 

The Premier had without warning convened his 
Cabinet. The Opposition believed that this was a 
prelude to the resignation of the Ministry and the fall 
of Mussolini ; but it was not. It w'as a meeting to 
decide the opening of an offensive calculated to rout 
the Opposition, and to fix the zero hour of attack. 
For weeks the Fascists had threatened a “ second 
wave ” to the March on Rome for the completion of 
their revolutionary power. It was no “ second ” wave 
of marching columns, however, that advanced to re- 
conquest by physical force. It was with a fighting 
Chamber speech by Mussolini that Fascism at one 
stroke recovered all lost ground. 

One of the most influential of the anti-Fascist news- 
papers had published a telling leader asserting that 
Mussolini and his Cabinet ought to be arraigned and 
punished for anti-Constitutionalism. That stung 
Mussolini into action. On January 3 he launched his 
famous speech before a re-assembled Chamber — from 



which, however, the Aventine groups were absent. 
He first replied to the newspaper leader with a taunt- 
ing challenge. “ Article 47 of the Statute says : ‘ The 
Chamber of Deputies has the right to bring a suit of 
accusation against the Ministers of the King and to 
bring them before the High Court of Justice.’ I for- 
mally demand if there is anyone, in this Chamber or 
out of it, who wishes to apply that Article 47 ? ” 

After denying the existence of a Cheka he condemned 
the parties which had left the Chamber for the Aven- 
tine. He argued that it was not he but the Aventinists 
who were unconstitutional. “ The Aventine secession 
is above all anti-constitutional and revolutionary.” 
The anti-Fascist Press of the Aventine parties had 
“ disgraced Italy for three months,” he said, “ with a 
campaign in which the most fantastic, the most terrify- 
ing and the most gruesome lies had been spread daily 
in all their ne,wspapers.” Recapitulating the meas- 
ures he had taken and was continuing to take for a 
return to normality and to stamp out illegal actions 
he added that there were “ today hundreds and hun- 
dreds of Fascists in prison.” 

Then in slow, deliberate tones he said : ” I hereby 
declare in face of this Assembly and in face of all the 
Italian people that I and I alone assume the political, 
moral and historical responsibility for everything that 
has befallen. If more or less mutilated phrases are 
enough to hang a man — then out with the gibbet and 
up with the rope ! If Fascism has only been castor- 
oil and clubs and not, instead, a superb passion of 
the best Italian youth — the fault is mine. If Fascism 
has been an association of criminals, if all the violence 
has been the outcome of a certain historical, political 
and moral atmosphere — again the responsibility is 


mine, because that historical, political and moral at- 
mosphere is one which I have created with a propa- 
ganda lasting from the intervention in the Great War 
until today.” 

He then accused the Aventine of nurturing Repub- 
lican aims so as to hit Fascism from that angle, and he 
tabulated a list of Fascists killed and assailed in recent 
months in conflicts with anti-Fascists of the Aventine 
parties whose activities were shown to have encour- 
aged a re-awakening of the Reds with consequent inci- 
dents of bloodshed and incendiarism in Mcstre, 
Valombra, Venice and Padua. “ You see from this 
that the situation of the Aventine has had profound 
repercussions in all the country. And now the time 
has come to cry, ‘ Enough ! ’ When two irreducible 
elements are in conflict the only solution lies in force. 
There has never been another solution in history, and 
there never will be. The Government is sufficiently 
strong to break the sedition of the Aventine fuUy and 

Jn peroration Mussolini said : “ Italy, 0 Signori, 
wishes peace, tranquillity and a working calm. These 
things we will give, \vdth love if it be possible ; with 
force if it be necessary^ You may rest assured that 
within 48 hours from the utterance of this speech, the 
situation will be clarified all over. And all know that 
this is not said for personal caprice, or for governmen- 
tal wantonness or for an ignoble passion, but for 
boundless and all-possessing love of Italy.” 

In the midst of a Fascist ovation which marked the 
conclusion of the speech an Opposition motion criticis- 
ing the Government’s conduct was read and then 
withdrawn, and the House rose sine die without the 
expected debate on Mussolini’s statement bdng 


allowed to open. Immediately afterwards Mussolini 
summoned the Ministers of the Interior and Communi- 
cations, the General in Command of the Carabinieri and 
the Director-General of the Police to his office at 
Palazzo Chigi and gave orders that all sabotage and 
violence by Fascists or anti-Fascists was to be severely 
repressed. Cavalry and infantry troops guarded the 
Opposition newspapers. 

The position had resolved itself into this — Mussolini 
had appeased his extremists without giving way to 
them ; he avoided disquieting the flanking parties ; 
he had put the onus on the Opposition to disprove 
seditionism ; he regained his own full initiative and 
intimated his liberty of action ; and he mobilised the 
forces to check violence in all quarters. In short, he 
succeeded in pulling the chestnuts out of the Are. 

But these were merely the immediate aspects of his 
speech. Its real importance was that it marked the 
speedier application of Mussolini’s revolutionary ideas 
of government. He was no longer going to attempt 
or pretend to work in collaboration with any of the 
other parties. He was no longer going to introduce 
his Fascist prmciples through a gradual modification 
of the superstructure of the existing State : instead he 
began to prepare new fovmdations. 

This meant no difference in Mussolini’s plan nor in 
the Fascist programme. It only meant a different line 
of approach to the same plan and programme — the 
construction of a new State — and on January 23, 1925, 
the Fascist Grand Council declared that the general 
basis of this new State was to be found in Fascist Trade 
Union Syndicalism. “ The Council reconfirms that 
syndicalist action is an integral part of the Fascist 
Jtnovement and idea.” A resolution passed by the 



Council emphasized “ the ever-increasing importance 
of the worker, freed from those universal Utopias 
which are regularly contradicted by events.” 

The Council’s resolution then postulated that class 
co-operation and not class warfare was the goal of 
the Syndicates — “ their specific task is the defence of 
labour, but without denying the task of capital, sub- 
ordinated in its turn to the exigencies of production 
and of the nation.” It added that “ the Italian na- 
tion, being poor in raw materials and ready capital, 
but rich in man-power, must of necessity organise itself 
as one unit to confront the struggle dominated by 
State hegemonies. It therefore finds in Fascist Syndi- 
cal discipline, which with new feelings co-ordinates 
the intellectual and manual masses of labour, the 
essential foundation of its expansion.” 

Warning both capital and labour of the conse- 
quences of nurturing any “ culpable incomprehen- 
sion ” of the national scope of the Syndicates, the 
resolution concluded : “ In order to make sure of 
the disciplined development of the National Syndical 
movement, the Grand Council — rejecting the criterion 
of demo-Liberal agnosticism — recognises that Syndical 
action on an Unitarian national basis must indispens- 
ably find harmonious response in the institutes and 
functions of the State. It therefore considers the solu- 
tion of the problem of the inclusion of the organised 
economic forces in the life of the State to be of funda- 
mental importance in the preparation of the new 
legislation of the Fascist State." 

During the spring other decisions were taken for 
reforms calculated to remould the State and Constitu- 
tion ; and for the pursuance of this purpose a Com- 
mission of Eighteen — ^known to the critics as thft 



Solomons ” — was constituted. As this phase of applied 
Fascism got more and more imder way, Mussolini 
enlarged his appeal for the inclusion of all Italian life 
and thought within the orbit of Fascism. Into the 
practical he wove the mystic ; to the material he 
added the ethical. His watchword became “ All the 
power to all Fascism,” and he summarized his move- 
ment by saying ; “ Fascism is today a Party, a 

Militia, a Corporation. That is not enough. It must 
become something more. It must become a way of 
life. There ought to be Italians of Fascism, just as 
there have been characters who were unmistakably 
the Italians of the Renaissance and the Italians of 
Latinity. It is only by creating a way of life — that is, 
a manner of living — that we can make our mark on 
the page of history and not merely on the page of cur- 
rent news. In developing this theme he said : 

What then is this way of life ? Courage first of all. In- 
trepidness, love of riskjtrepugnance of bloated self-satisfaction 
and lazy peace# To be always ready. To dare in the indi- 
vidual life as in the collective life. To abolish everything 
sedentary. Pride in every hour of the day to feel oneself 
Italian. Pride in the discipline of work. Respect for 

Through a work of selection we will create new genera- 
tions ; and each new generation will have a definite task. 
It is through such methodic selection that Empires are 

This is a proud dream, but I see it bit by bit becoming 
a reality. We do not refute the past. We consider that 
Liberalism has signified something in the history of Italy. 

The goal is this ; Empire. 

This declaration was the culmination of a general 
Fascist propaganda of similar ideas carried out during 
the early months of 1925. 


The twenty-eight months encompassed by January 
1925 (when the above-quoted Chamber speech and the 
Coimcil resolution were made) and April 1927 (when 
the Labour Charter was published, the first Fascist 
levy made and the Fascist State declared “ born ” by 
the Council) mark a very important phase in the his- 
tory of Fascism. Having already conquered, Fascism 
during this period dug itself in. 

To tell the story of this period — January 1925 to 
April 1927— and to avoid the categories of events over- 
lapping each other I will divide its leading interests in 
the following chapters into three parallel chronologies : 
(i) Opposition, anti-Fascist efforts ; Fascist measures 
of attack and defence, (2) Foreign, colonial and world 
policy, (3) Juridical growth of the new kind of State. 



Beginning of Fuoruscitu' SuMressive Legislation. Freemasonry Out- 
lawed. The ^aniboni Plot. The “ Matteotti Trial.” Negligible sen- 
tences. Effect abroad. The Gibson attempt on Mussolini. The 
Lucetti Attempt. The ^amboni Attempt. Special Defence of State 
Tribunal Inaugurated. Death Sentence Re-introduced. ‘ Confine ‘ revived. 
The Chamber. Giolitti’s last phase. Street Scenes. 

T he Opposition, anti-Fascist efforts and the Fascist 
measures of attack and defence from January 3, 
1925, onwards took on characteristics which were 
marked by desperation on the anti-Fascist side and by 
doctrinal changes on the part of the Fascist counter- 
measures. The Aventine effort ended in collapse, with 
the eventual exile of its leading exponents, who became 
fuorusciti with campaigns developed from Paris, Brus- 
sels and America ; ^ while the Fascists, translating into 
legislation their doctrine of the supremacy of the 
Rights of the State over the old demo-Liberal belief 
of the Rights of Man, fortified their combativeness 
with laws which automatically made traitors of aU 
opponents, with ample provision for dealing with them 
in that unfavourable hghtv 

' Liberalism no less than Communism was considered 
subversive — and it was of course infinitely more diffi- 
cult to stamp out because it had an ideology behind 
it whose expression was nothing less than Twentieth 
Century world civilization, with mighty exponents in 
the great nations of Great Britain, the United States 
and France) Not the least strenuous and ambitious 


part of the Fascist programme of today is new Italy’s 
effort to show the universal collapse of demo-Libcral- 
ism and the consequent justification of an universal 
Fascism — but that is getting ahead of my narrative. 

The Aventine groups became in 1925 completely 
disintegrated and their leaders easy victims of Black- 
shirt pursuit. Farinacci was nominated Party Secre- 
tary — the most powerful and influential position that 
one can hold under Mussolini as far as the regime and 
the populace are concerned. This appointment was 
sufficient indication of the intransigent attitude which 
the Fascists meant to adopt— and Farinacci justified all 
expectations. In his piazza harangues he outdid all 
Chamber efforts in virulous violence. He kept the 
Blackshirt Militia continuously active in applying 
blows and castor-oil. He became the terror of the anti- 
Fascists. He held Italy under the manganello, whUe 
Mussolini got on with the job of reforming the State. 
Although originally a railway clerk, Farinacci was, and 
is, a mem of keen active mind capable of much wider 
employment than the work of a clerk demands. With 
exemplary rapidity he qualified for the Italian Bar, 
adding a vigorously conducted legal practice to the 
frays of the street and piazzas. His relentless handling 
of the political situation was an essential contribution 
to the re-establishment of Fascist authority in Italy 
after the dark days of the Matteotti set-back. 

The complications of the Matteotti case, augmented 
by the accusation of complicity brought against the 
Quadrumvirate and ex-Chief of Police, General De 
Bono, at the instance of a Liberal newspaper editor in 
March 1925, were slighdy lessened by the decision of 
the Senatorial Court which absolved De Bono of the 
charge in June of the same year. 



The attacks against Freemasonry intensified, and 
further measures were taken to purge the Party of all 
Masonic members and to curtail the rights of assembly 
of the Masonic bodies. *As a result of the general puni- 
tive measures against all antagonists there began a 
general exodus of anti-Fascists to other countries, where 
they were welcomed by a very mixed set of people 
whose only link in common was hatred and fear of 
Mussolini, his Fascists and Fascism^ 

From Liberal idealists to international Anarchists, 
every sector of the anti-Fascist world was repre- 
sented in the fuorusciti. The addition of fugitive ex- 
Fascists like Gesare Rossi and dissident Fascists who 
had left the Fascist ranks over the “ moral ” and 
“ normalisation ” questions, provided the fuorusciti 
with still more material for the campaign which they 
began to open abroad. But there again the old story 
was repeated. The extremist Left elements among 
them quickly dominated all action. There was no 
unity of moderate thought to check them and there 
was of course no Government control to prevent the 
degeneracy of subversive thought into criminal action. 
Accordingly there began a series of assaults on Italian 
Government officials abroad. In America and in 
Europe consuls, consular officers, diplomats, and the 
officials of the Fascist groups established abroad be- 
came the targets of knife, bullet and bomb — ^violence 
abroad in answer to violence at home. 

What was left of the Opposition at home had sunk 
to such low water that their only hope lay in a 
ghoulish expectation that a gastric attack from which 
Mussolini suffered during 1925 might prove fatal. 

In November 1925 the Zaniboni plot for the assass- 
ination of Mussolini was discovered. Along with 


General Capello — commander of the Second Army 
during the war — and others, who were said to belong 
to Freemason groups, a plan was made whereby 
Zaniboni — Unitarian Socialist and an ex-army officer 
with a distinguished war record and one of the finest 
shots in the Italian Army — ^masquerading in Militia 
uniform took a room in an hotel with a window com- 
manding the balcony of the Palazzo Chigi from which 
Mussolini was in the habit of acknowledging the cheers 
of the crowd. Behind the shutters he rigged up a 
rifle with telescopic sights. He was discovered and 
arrested about half an hour before Mussolini was due 
to appear to greet a November 4 Armistice Day 
parade. Fascist reaction was extreme and all Oppo- 
sition newspapers were burned and their offices 

During November and December 1925, a series of 
repressive laws were passed against the Press, against 
secret societies, against the continued employment of 
non-Fascist civil servants and against the fuoriisciti — 
who were “ denationalised ” and their estates con- 
fiscated. These measures led to a further exodus 
of the adversaries of Fascism from the shores of 

By the beginning of 1926 it could be said that the 
Opposition was not only physically but also officially 
suppressed by legislation, together with its Press. 
What may be called the piazza or street-fighting aspect 
of this suppression of the anti-Fascists ended about 
this time with the almost complete elimination of 
their forces. As evidence that this bludgeon-work had 
been concluded, Farinacci was replaced by Augusto 
Turati as Party Secretary. Turati was a man of 
organising rather than rough-and-tumble ability, and 


his selection marked the character of the next phase 
of F ascism in its progress towards the full establish- 
ment of its doctrines as an integral expression of the 

During March 1926 the trial of those accused of the 
assassination of Matteotti was at long last held. The 
case was heard in the courtroom of the out-of-the-way- 
township of Ghieti beyond the Abruzzi mountains. 
Of the considerable number of prisoners originally 
held for trial, several — including Marinelli, the ex- 
Secretary-General for the Party — had already been 
absolved from charges of complicity by the prelimin- 
ary court of examination, and liberated. Others held 
on secondary charges were automatically liberated 
through amnesty measures. Five prisoners remained 
to face the tribunal at Ghieti. With the principal 
prisoner Dumini, a Milan Fascist defended by Fari- 
nacci, the charge against them all was reduced from 
murder to manslaughter. Two were found not guilty. 
Dumini and two others were found guilty and con- 
demned to twelve years’ imprisonment each — ^but in 
consequence of various reductions these long periods 
of imprisonment resolved themselves into a matter of 
only a few months. But March 1926 was not June 
1924, and neither the trial nor its results was able to 
make any outward stir in the Italian public, and this 
for three reasons : (i) the Opposition had overdone its 
propaganda on the case, (2) the Fascists had thorough- 
ly cowed potential critics from any expression of 
adverse opinion, and (3) the public, apparently content 
to note the social order which the Fascist regime was 
so rapidly restoring, had become indifferent to the 
affair, Abroad> however, it fed the flames of fury 
among the fuorusdti and their foreign friends. A 


further series of consular assassinations and assaults 
broke out. 

In April 1926 Mussolini again narrowly escaped 
being shot. This time it was a demented Irishwoman, 
Miss Violet Gibson, who made the attempt. She fired 
at him as he left a public meeting, the bullet cutting 
and lacerating his nostrils. Mussolini’s comment was : 
“ Bullets pass : I remain ! ” but he also made a more 
far-reaching quotation : If I advance, follow me. 
If I retreat, slay me. If I am killed, avenge me^” On 
September ii, an Anarchist Lucetti threw a bomb at 
Mussolini’s car. It struck the windows, but the driver 
accelerated and the grenade exploded without injuring 
theDuce. Eight onlookers were injured. On October 
31 a young Anarchist, Zamboni, fired at Mussolini 
during Fascist celebrations at Bologna. The buUet 
was deflected by a decoration star which Mussolini 
happened to be wearing. Zamboni was lynched where 
he stood. Over forty dagger-stabs were afterwards 
counted on his mangled remains. 

These things made it so obvious that the enemies of 
the regime were now relying on crime for the further- 
ance of their aims that the Fascist Government, with 
difficulty restraining the Blackshirt squads from acts 
of immediate revenge such as that committed on 
Zamboni, formulated a new series of enactions for the 
protection of the regime. kWhat specially angered the 
Government was the conviction that certain countries, 
notably France, in giving shelter to the anti-Fascists 
or at least in not curbing their activities were inten- 
tionally acting to the hurt of Fascist Italy. Fascist 
Press propaganda fostered this notion/ 

Addressing an enormous crowd of citizens who had 
assembled outside the Palazzo Ghigi just after his 



escape from the bomb of Lucetti, Mussolini ex- 
claimed : “ This is the third time that you, O Romans 
and Blackshirts, have called me to this balcony on the 
occasions of criminal attempts and I accept your for- 
midable ovation as the symbol of the fullness of your 
faith and your devotion. First of all I beg you, when 
this manifestation is over, that there be no disturbance 
of public order. But all the same it is time to cry 
‘ Enough I ’ After close meditation I have come to 
the conviction that it is necessary to apply new 
measures of defence, not for me — because I like to live 
in danger — but for the nation. The Italian nation, 
which works strenuously as is its duty and its privilege, 
its hope and its glory, cannot and must not be periodi- 
cally disturbed by a band of criminals. Just as we 
have abolished the system of general, sympathetic and 
permanent strikes, so do we intend to put a brake on 
the series of attempts — even to the application of 
capital punishment. Thus it will become always less 
convenient to imperil the existence of the regime and 
the tranquillity of the Italian people.” 

<The growing feeling that the French authorities 
were too lax in allowing the development of anti- 
Fascist activities on their soil and that they therefore 
shared an indirect responsibility in these crimes was 
voiced by Mussolini in the same speech when he said, 
“ The culpable and unheard-of tolerance given beyond 
our frontiers must stop if the friendship of the Italian 
people is desired — friendship which might be fatally 
compromised by episodes of this kind.” 

By November 1926 these measures of protection 
were decreed. Chief among them was the formation 
of a “ Special Tribunal for the Defence of the State.” 
This was a Fascist court constituted to deal on court- 


martial lines with prisoners accused of political activi- 
ties hostile to the regime. Originally constituted for 
five years, its spell of operations were prolonged in 
December 1931. #This court has the faculty of giving 
life sentences and capital punishment. The death 
sentence was at this time re-introduced into Italy also 
for murder in civil crimes. In the cases of political 
crimes the death penalty is also applicable against 
those who are convicted of having made or plotted an 
attempt against the person of the King, the Grown 
Prince, the Capo del Governo and the Pope. The 
old Italian system of conjino was also re-introduced. 
This is a system for putting suspects and undesirable 
characters out of circulation.- Social pests like drug 
traffickers, extortionate moneylenders, gamblers, un- 
qualified mid wives, etc., are segregated on various is- 
lands, or suspects are placed under continuous police 
supervision and forbidden to leave a specified village 
or zone. The maximum period is three years, and 
those condemned to this form of privation receive their 
sentences not from a court but from the police. In 
political cases the local Fascist authorities have of 
course the greatest say, and the segregation spot chosen 
for anti-Fascists was the island of Lipari, where they 
were sent and given ten lire a day and the liberty to 
work for more if they could. 

Other defence measures included the closure of the 
headquarters of all Socialist and Communist quarters 
and the declaration that these parties were illegal. 
Provision was made whereby any attempt to recon- 
struct them became a crime, with enormous penalties j 
similar steps were taken against all secret societies. 
The Press became totally Fascist and the Cabinet was 
reconstituted so that it became whoUy Blackshirt. 



From this series of anli-Fascist and Fascist actions 
it must not be concluded that parliamentary life had 
been altogether extinguished. With the evaporation 
of the Aventine Opposition and the elimination of the 
Communists, debates certainly lost all character as 
debates together with their erstwhile turbulence and 
bitterness. The Chamber became a mere routine 
clearing-house for the passage of bills and the declama- 
tion of reports, with occasional flares of interest when 
Mussolini spoke ; or when Del Croix, the leader of the 
ex-Servicemen, blind, and maimed in both hands, rose 
like a symbol of sacrifice and suflering to thrill the 
House with his always poignant oratory ; or when 
Giolitti, the sole token of other days, sent in an occa- 
sional arrow, well aimed but from a broken bow. So 
sedate were the sittings that it was difficult to realise 
the passions of the exiled anti-Fascists or the revolu- 
tionary legislature that was being steadily built up for 
the complete doctrinal transformation of the Italian 

There was always a hmn of talk and a noticeable 
movement in this penultimate phase of the Fascist 
Chamber — the last phase coming with the 1929 elec- 
tions, as we shall see in due course. Deputies, or at 
least a goodly number of them, wandered about as if 
they were in their own drawing-room, some strolling 
to join the groups that were always collected round 
the doorways, others leaning in conversation over the 
desks of colleagues or officials. Servitors flitting here 
and there with notes and dossiers among the seated 
amphitheatre of Deputies; liveried footmen with small 
trays of coffee and water moving sedately to the 
thirsty; the flutter of white folios on the tiered semi- 
circles of desks — emphasized from the bird’s-eye view 


of the Press Gallery — contributed to a general feeling 
which would seem to our Northern ideas to indicate a 
spirit of restlessness and murmur. 

And then there would be, still is, an immediate 
sense of eager attention when Mussolini rose to speak. 
No matter what the occasion, slight or important, 
every murmur ceased and every movement was stilled 
— deferential silence that was always arresting. Musso- 
lini then, as now, being a skilled orator with a great 
actor’s “ sense of audience ” and an instinct for 
“ timing,” lets the silence last for a moment, holding 
expectancy before he speaks — and then his tones are 
quiet, almost conversational, but with a play of 
modulation that in its elocutional perfection forces his 
points as if they had been thundered. 

He makes rhetorical use of dates in an extraordinary 
way, rattling them off at a high speed and then 
pausing while their commemorative significance to the 
argument in hand sinks in. No gestures save, when 
he begins speaking, or dxiring pauses, an unconscious 
fingering of his tie : his only mannerism a slow up- 
lifting of his massive jaw accompanied by a sudden 
wide-opening of his eyes — this mannerism, however, 
being perhaps more characteristic of Mussolini listen- 
ing than Mussolini talking. 

During the 1925-1927 epoch imder review in this 
section, there was only one other man who secured a 
like silence for his statements ; only one other man 
with a like conversational style — ^masking a deadly 
play of argument — Giolitti. Mussolini as a rule would 
rise almost abruptly to speak and the stiUness therefore 
fell suddenly. Giolitti would slowly unbend his gaimt, 
sinewy length, and with his arms outstretched so that 
bis hands gripped the far edge of his desk he would 



pull himself leisurely to his feet. The signs were noted, 
the murmurs, with some expostulations, would in- 
crease, to fade gradually into absolute silence, which 
would be scarcely reached when the biting accents, 
precise and resonant, of the then over eighty-year-old 
parliamentary warrior would be directed at rather 
than to the Government Bench. 

The disintegrated Opposition, scattered to the 
winds, represented, as we have seen, a multiplicity of 
political creeds, many of them as bitterly opposed to 
Giolittian Liberalism as to Mussolinian Fascism ; but 
somehow in the general mind Giolitti was the token 
of the entire Constitutional Opposition in that he 
symbolized the whole former political order which the 
new regime had thrust aside. His great and prolonged 
dictatorship had stamped the fact of his personality 
deep into the minds of the Italian people. His name 
ran like a binding cord through the web of forty years 
of tempestuous parliamentarianism. 

It was the very parliamentarianism that the Fascists 
were out to kill. Why then did they give such impres- 
sive attention to the symbol of their enemy ? There 
were several reasons. Giolitti was too shrewd to pro- 
voke fhiitless outbursts. He let general invective fly 
over his head ; never made long speeches. He sat 
through each assembly as motionless as a hawk — and 
as watchful — reserving his inteijections for rare and 
telling occasions, paying little or no attention to his 
neighbours. He was not gloomily hostile but alert and 
wary. Accordingly, his tactics and his personality 
combined to make him a distinctly dramatic figure in 
the Chamber, And the reaction to this was keen 
attention on the very few occasions when he did break 
silence. Salandra, Orlando, Nitti, Sforza, Facta, 


Turati, Sturzo — all these names, which had once 
dominated Italian political life, counted only as 
names of the dead — several of them indeed the 
already neglected dead. Of that company Giolitti 
alone survived as a parliamentary figure — and even 
he was a wraith fading with his own fast-vanishing 

The Fascists were not afraid of him, but he was a 
ghost at their feast. Ghosts command awe if not 
deference, and this, coupled with the Italians’ inherent 
respect for the dignity of age, helped to secure for 
Giolitti the tribute of a silent hearing only equalled 
by that accorded to the Duce himself. He represented 
the last link with the parliaments of other days and 
other ways. 

From this Chamber atmosphere you would pass into 
the streets of Rome and there, in the year 1925 at least, 
you would as likely as not meet a bunch of Fascists — 
with clubs in their hands that would make Irish- 
mens’ shillelaghs look like toothpicks, and more pistols 
in their belts than you would see in a wild west film — 
bearing down on some newspaper kiosk. There you 
would see them seizing and making a street bonfire of 
some Opposition publication — the unfortunate vendor 
wisely keeping his thoughts to himself in a side street. 
Or you would see a mob with banners pouring by, 
singing Gminezza and knocking the hats off the heads 
of those who were not bareheaded before the Black- 
shirt emblems. Then you might see tens of thousands 
of people pouring into Piazza Colonna for a mere 
glimpse of Mussolini to give him an ovation. And 
then again you might see, later, the same squadristi that 
you had seen surging like lion-tamers among the citi- 
zens, kneeling, immobile and in dedicatory homage 
o 20 $ 


before the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and the 
Ara Patria. 

1925 was a strange world in Rome — a world with 
all emotions and passions at snapping-point : 1927 
was calmer and more sedate, with cudgels forbidden 
and revolvers not quite so omnipresent. 



Misrepresentation Abroad. The Real Bases. Pfine Points. The 
Alpine Gale. JVo 'Anschluss' Trade. Arbitration Treaties. Sea 
Routes. Vis-d-vis Yugoslavia. The Albanian Buffer. Policy with 
Succession States. Difficulties with Belgrade. Grievances with France : 
Tangier, Tunis, Libya, ‘ Fuorusciti.’ Rising Place in World Affairs : 
Debts-Reparations, Disarmament, Treaty Revision, Tariffs, Five-Power 

T he dispersion in foreign countries of the Italian 
adversaries of Fascism contributed not only, as 
we have seen, to sporadic acts of criminal violence by 
desperate emissaries entering Italy to fulfill assassina- 
tion plans, but it also contributed towards the spread- 
ing of a false and exaggerated picture of Italian 
foreign pohcy., 

It must be remembered that the fuorusciti included 
every range of anti-Fascist hostility — ex- Ambassadors, 
ex-Ministers, intellectuals, turn-coat Fascists, Free- 
masons, Clericals, Democrat-Liberals and Sociahsts as 
well as Communists, Republicans and Anarchists. It 
must also be remembered that there were members in 
each of all these categories who had friends and rela- 
tives of their own beliefs who were living a silenced 
and often menaced life on the peninsula, if not among 
the prisoners condemned by the Defence of the State 
Tribunal or among the confinati on the islands. 

This common repression created a certain bond of 
sympathy among these hitherto irreconcilable politi- 
cal elements, and it was with the greatest difficulty that 



the former constitutional elements among them could 
refrain from nurturing a gruesome interest in the 
malign plots of the more ferocious subversive groups. 
There was no political unity or co-operation among 
them, but their anti-Fascist propaganda developed 
abroad such a uniform picture of Mussolini and 
Fascism that the murderous plots, which had their 
denouements mostly in the prison cells of Italy, were 
made to appear as if justified in the eyes of the 

The Masons in France, the Liberals in England, the 
Socialists in France, Belgium, Britain and the two 
Americas opened their newspapers and their lecture 
halls to the diffusion of a purely destructive criticism 
of Fascist home affairs and alarmist reports on its 
foreign policy. Practically no newspaper stopped to 
analyse the merits or demerits of Fascism as a political 
and governmental system or to enquire into the 
doctrine behind it. Mussolini was depicted as a dic- 
tator whose actions were arbitrary, impulsive, oppor- 
tunist, changeable and fireakish : in short that his 
home pohcy was tyrannous and his foreign policy 

It is true that Mussolini dealt with every problem 
which impinged on his progress, home or foreign, 
with direct realism ; and his outspoken speeches 
during this period contained phrases of disquieting 
directness. The concentrated emphasis of the foreign 
Press on these characteristics succeeded for some time 
in creating the idea of a Mussolini ready to spring at 
everybody’s and anybody’s throat. He was held up 
as a bogey. He was successively alleged to be prepar- 
ing hostile plans against Russia, Germany, Turkey, 
France, Greece, Austria, Yugoslavia and Albania, and 


to be developing expansionist plots in North Africa, 
in the Near and Middle East, in the Eastern Mediter- 
ranean and Adriatic and in the Balkans. 

The fomentation of this alarmist campaign against 
Fascist Italy began also to affect many newspapers of 
the so-called popular press of no particular hostility 
to Italy, and for this reason : Mussolini and whatever 
he did or said had become a “ front-page story.” He 
made good “ copy ” and the role which he was ex- 
pected to play for the readers of such newspapers was 
that of the Big Bad Man of Europe who could be relied 
on to give sensational jolts to the Continental apple- 

And then came the speculators. These soon noted 
that the value of the lira fluctuated in accordance with 
alarmist reports about Mussolini and Italian affairs. 
Italy, morally and financially, was accordingly at the 
mercy of a hostile foreign Press until she took measures 
to protect herself and reveal matters in a truer light 
to the world in general. 

Pimitive laws were passed against anti-patriotic 
speculators on the Italian Stock Exchange and steps 
were taken to check traffic in the lira abroad. All 
other calumnies against the regime, as far as foreign 
affairs were concerned, were gradually contradicted 
and lived down by the slow but continuous infiltration 
of the true facts in the columns of many of the same 
newspapers which had so readily accepted and pub- 
lished earlier allegations. Newspapers of the great 
Liberal tradition in Britain, however, continued to 
censure Mussolini as the wilful wrecker of a Liberal 
idealism which, as we have seen, never had expression 
in post-war Italy. The Labour Press condemned him 
on all things, home and foreign, because he had done 



one thing — announced liis unbelief in class warfare 
and therefore in non-Fascist trade unionism. 

The real facts as revealed by the treaties, official 
declarations and diplomatic documents published 
during the 1925-1927 period show that Mussolini pur- 
sued a foreign pohcy with the following main foimda- 
tion stones : (i) inviolability of the existing Alpine 
frontier lines, (a) prevention of the reunion of Ger- 
many and Austria, and the creation of an Anschluss, 
(3) belief in commercial agreements and the reduction 
of tariff walls as the real means of arriving at a 
united Europe, (4) faith in arbitration treaties for the 
elimination of international friction, (5) preservation 
of the sea routes from the Black Sea ports and the 
Eastern Mediterranean, (6) the delimitation of the 
Italo- Yugoslav dispute, (7) the creation of Albania as 
an independent, friendly and buffer State, (8) the 
development of an Italian sphere of influence among 
the Successor States to the Habsburg Empire and, 
(9) insistence on France’s fulfilment of the 1915 Secret 
Treaty of London in spirit and letter. 

Addressing the Senate on May 25, 1925, Mussolini 
said : ” We consider the Brenner frontier irrevocable 
and I hereby declare that the Italian Government 
will defend it at whatsoever cost.” On the question 
of the Anschluss he said in course of the same speech ; 
“ It is not admissible. Italy will never tolerate such 
a blatant violation of the Treaties. The annexation of 
Austria to Germany would increase the territorial and 
demographic strength of Germany, and that would 
present us with the paradoxical situation that the sole 
nation which would so increase its strength, making 
itself the strongest bloc in Central Europe, would be 
no other than Germany. It would be a frustration of 


the Italian victory.” And again in February 1926 : 
“ From 1866 to 1915 the Italian nation suffered the 
old and absurd Trentino frontier which, like a knife 
in the hands of an enemy, drove its blade as far south 
as the banks of the Po. That frontier was one of the 
most bitter things in our national drama, interrupted 
in 1866, but reopened and happily concluded in 1918 
with the victory of our arms. The Brenner is inviol- 
able. That word is definitive.” As a contributory 
measure against Anschluss tendencies he intensified the 
policy of giving financial aid for the establishment of 
an economically independent Austria, 

Having declared international trade to be the “ web 
of peace,” he concluded in the two-year period imder 
review no less than twenty-three trade and tariff 
accords. And by the beginning of 1925 there was in 
vigour between Italy and Switzerland a Treaty of 
Conciliation and Arbitration (signed December 1924) 
which became a model for a ramification of similar 
pacts with the very countries which the enemies of 
Fascism were declaring to be the “ next victims ” of 
“ unprovoked aggression.” 

The preservation of the communications from the 
Black Sea and security in the Eastern Mediterranean 
were developed through early recognition of Soviet 
Russia and the conclusion of commercial treaties. 
Mussolini in 1925, sure of the extinction of Commun- 
ism and of Bolshevist influence in Italy, pronounced 
his conviction that the Soviet regime would transform 
itself into one employing a financial system no different 
firom that of other States and expressed his belief that 
economic friendship with Russia offered great poten- 
tial advantages for Italy, and no danger. 

He then contributed to bring an assurance of peace 



in the Eastern Mediterranean by encouraging and 
finally securing a network of reciprocal non-aggression 
and arbitration pacts between Russia, Turkey, Greece 
and Italy. This was his answer to those who accused 
him of expansionist plans in the Levant. The Italian 
Government entered upon the fortification of the 
Dodecanese island of Leros in the Aegean Sea and the 
organisation of Rhodes as a military station — the 1923 
Treaty of Lausanne having given Italy full possession 
of the Dodecanese group. A pact of friendship, a 
treaty of commerce and twenty-eight secondary 
agreements were concluded in 1925 with Yugoslavia. 

The Conference of Ambassadors in 1921 had recog- 
nised Italy as “ the natural guardian ” of Albania, 
whereupon Rome began to consolidate her position— 
Italy’s aim being the maintenance of Albania as a 
friendly buffer state. In 1925 Italy granted a prelim- 
inary loan of fifty million lire to Albania — a sum 
augmented by more millions in later years under 
conditions which practically amounted to a gift. The 
creation of a National Bank of Albania with more 
than half its capital supplied by the National Bank of 
Italy gave Italy control over Albanian currency — 
financial dealings which have proved singularly im- 
fruitful for Italy. With the Pact of Tirana, signed in 
1926, Albania (or rather the Albanian Government 
regime then in power) virtually placed itself under 
the protection of Italy. This was followed in Nov- 
ember 1927 by a Treaty of Defensive Military 
Alliance — documents which carefully specify not 
only the full recognition of Albanian independence 
and sovereignty but guarantee the maintenance of 
these conditions. The policy of Italy in Albania 
vis-i-vis the Balkans can in many ways be likened 


in principle to British policy in Afghanistan vis-d-vis 

The development of an Italian sphere of influence 
among the Successor States of the former Habsburg 
Austro-Hungarian Empire represents a reaction to the 
whole history of Italy. We have seen in the earlier 
chapters of this work how, in point of historical fact, 
the Habsburg Empire was the residue of a system 
descended from the Holy Roman Empire, which had 
held the Italian people in fee for centuries on end. 
We have seen the shackles torn asunder link by link 
on the successive battlefields of the Risorgimento. Wc 
have seen the last fetter snapped with the conclusion of 
the Great War. In the official archives of the Italian 
War Office, the war of 1915-1918 is entered along 
vdth those of 1848-1870 under the common heading 
of “ Campaigns of Italian Independence.” 

With the collapse of the Central Powers in 1918, 
with the consequent disappearance of the Habsburg 
monarchy, and with the Peace Treaty dismemberment 
of the Austro-Hungarian Empire — the secular exremy 
of Italian freedom was laid low and all “ Italian soil ” 
was at long last “ redeemed.” To have left it at that 
would have meant a static policy which would have 
put Italy at the mercy of whatever future events might 
befall the newly created States which had succeeded 
to the place of the fallen Empire. 

Two post-war courses were open to Italy ; (i) a 
policy aiming to keep the ex-enemy people in subju- 
gation, to prevent militarism, and to control any 
renewal of Austrian penetration : a policy in short 
similar to that then adopted by France towards 
Germany, or (2) a policy of assistance which would 
help to make possible the economic and social recon- 



stxuction of the new States, while at the same time 
ensuring the security of the Adriatic seaboard which 
contains, at Gattaro, the key-position to the naval 
mastery of Italy : a policy based on reciprocal inter- 
ests and mutual trust under the aegis of a friendly 
Italy, with special influence in what would be, roughly, 
an Adriatic and Danubian sphere of economic influ- 
ence. The second of these two policies was adopted 
by Italy and developed by Mussolini. Austria and 
Hungary quickly reacted favourably, and the Dan- 
ubian nations of Roumania and Bulgaria may be said 
to have followed suit. But when it came to Yugo- 
slavia, Italy found another kettle of fish. Despite the 
twenty-eight accords of 1925, Belgrade had identified 
itself with the ring of Allies with which France had 
sought to strengthen herself against Germany and 
Soviet Russia — the Allies of the Little Entente, 
Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. The Yugo- 
slav sector of this Entente, as a glance at Map No. i 
will show better than words, not only cuts right across 
Italy’s sphere of interest as above described, but it 
includes that Adriatic seaboard so vital to Italy’s 
sense of safety. 

The internal policy of the old Habsburg regime was 
to hold together the heterogeneous collection of races 
composing the Empire by playing off one against the 
other and by fomenting among the Adriatic peoples a 
racial hatred of Italians, a sentiment returned on the 
Italian side by disdain for the “ barbarians.” These 
feelings would have faded out — as indeed they have 
presumably done in most other sections of the old 
Empire — had not the conflict of Italian and French 
policy clashed in Yugoslavia. And so it came about 
that the post-war arming of the Little Entente in 


general and Yugoslavia in particular, at the hands of 
France, was looked on no longer by Italy as meaning 
a French bulwark against Germany and Russia, but 
also as a threatening encirclement of Italy. 

The Italian people were therefore faced with the 
prospect of seeing the age-long Habsburg incubus, 
from which they had finally delivered themselves, 
replaced by the presence of a France-backed Yugo- 
slavia. The bitterness of the disillusionment was not 
rendered less by the fact that this new and unexpected 
threat was centred at the very Adriatic spot from 
which Italy was most vulnerable, the very spot which 
had been denied her at the Paris Peace Conference 
despite the provisions of the Secret Treaty of London, 
and the very region round which Itahan national 
aspirations had for generations been concentrated. It 
was moreover still more bitter for Italians to reflect 
that the agents of this new peril on old terrain were 
her ex-AUies in the war of deliverance — France and 

Mussolini’s first effort to counteract this Franco- 
Yugoslav move was, as we have seen, the pursuance of 
commercial and friendship pacts with Yugoslavia. 
The commercial pacts have remained active and 
fruitful for both parties. The mutual importance of 
Italo-Yugoslav trade was and is indeed perhaps the 
greatest guarantee of peace between these coxmtries ; 
but the friendship pacts proved dead letters. Events 
swamped their spirit — and that takes us to the com- 
plications of Italo-French relations as they stood 
during 1925-1927 and as they have stood in great part 
right up to the present 

First of all, Italy held France responsible for all 
Italian difficulties experienced on the Adriatic and in 



the Balkans, as above described. Rome could not 
understand w^hy her great ex-Ally should push forward 
the rise of Yugoslavia in terms of money and munitions, 
nor could she understand France’s hostility to Italy’s 
Albanian policy. Why, Rome asked, should there be 
any Franco-Italian problem on what are Italy’s 
Eastern frontier zones — zones where there were no 
reasonable French interests, historical, geographical or 
economic ? 

Italy therefore concluded that France was man- 
oeuvreing to encircle Italy in Italy’s own natural 
sphere in order to choke the development of Italy’s 
political affairs. This conviction, be it right or wrong, 
created a sentiment of antagonism between Rome and 
Paris — a sentiment which did not ameliorate the other 
open questions between these nations. 

In order to arouse in the reader’s mind some idea 
of the feelings which dominated Italian opinion at this 
time I shall describe the Italo-French position as from 
the Italian point of view. The “ other open ques- 
tions ” were Tangier, Tunis, Libya and the fuorusciti. 
Italy objected to France’s alleged desire to bar Italy’s 
“ reasonable and logical aspirations ” at Tangier as 
a participator on equal footing with Britain, France 
and Spain in the international zone — Italy basing 
her claims on her position as a Mediterranean Power 
and as a signatory State to the Act of Algegiras. 

In Tunis the question was more acute. It will be 
remembered that it was France’s coup in i88i at the 
expense of Italy which created a cleavage between the 
Italian and the French peoples and determined Italy’s 
adherence to Germany as a member of the Triple 
Alliance. In 1896 a species of Convention was 
arranged to secure, under the French regime, the 


maintenance of the “ Italianity ” of Italians, their in- 
stitutions and their children ; but soon these rights 
were whittled away by various decrees. 

Then came the Great War ; and Italy fought not 
on the side of Germany, as we have seen, but of 
France. During the war the French showed what 
Italy considered a more just attachment to the spirit 
of the 1896 Convention, giving facilities for the mobil- 
isation and embarcation of Italians to join the Allied 
forces ; but no sooner was war pracdcally finished than 
France, on September 9, 1918, denounced the Conven- 
tion. The pain given to Italian susceptibilities by this 
step, immediately after the conclusion of the common 
victory, may be imagined. A French decree of igig 
made the acquisition of real property practically pro- 
hibitive to Italians, and another in 1921, protested 
against by both Italy and Britain, imperilled the birth- 
right of 130,000 resident Italians in Tunis. 

Italians strongly resented these blows. The new 
Rome of Mussolini refused to accept these conditions 
as final. The Fascist Government desired France to 
grant a Convention which would guarantee, (a) that 
Italians would remain Italians ; {b) that their children 
be educated in Italian schools and preserve their 
Italian identity ; (c) that work and business be not 
disturbed by circumstances attendant on the menace 
of having to change nationality ; and {d) that France 
should not apply, in territory over which she did not 
enjoy sovereign authority, French laws to the detri- 
ment of the Tunisian Italians who had a position in 
Tunis and had developed that position before the 
coming of the French, 

Italy is vitally interested in the colonisation of 
Libya, a work which was in progress before adjacent 



French colonisation. After the war she was excluded 
from the acquisition of new colonies even as a 
mandated Power, as we have seen, and at various 
times she had asked that the question of the southern 
frontiers of Libya be cleared up. 

Italy cannot recognise the demarcation of this 
frontier as it existed before the departure of Turkey — 
a demarcation which cut away a great part of the 
country’s natural hinterland. When Italy was in the 
war she was concerned to solve, at least in part, the 
problem of the Libyan hinterland, and to this end 
obtained, through Article XIII of the Treaty of Lon- 
don, the stipulation that the various problems of Italy’s 
colonies would be examined and resolved the moment 
peace was declared. 

While the British Government has been able to 
reach an accord with Italy concerning the eastern 
Libyan frontier facing Jarabub — ^important not only 
for itself but as a Senussi centre ; while frontier adjust- 
ments have been carried out with Britain for regulating 
the confines of Itahan Somaliland ; while Britain 
has ceded Jubaland, which allows the development of 
the irrigation supplies of Somaliland ; while the British 
Foreign Office has been able to stipulate, or renew, 
accords of reciprocal goodwill and economy xmder 
certain conditions in Abyssinia and by the Red Sea — 
while Britain has done these things in accordance with 
the spirit of the Treaty, France, on the other hand, 
confined herself to what was felt to be a meagre appli- 
cation of Article XIII — ^the abandonment of one strip 
of arid desert joining Ghadames and Ghat. 

On the question of the fuorusciti the Fascist Govern- 
ment believed that there must be a certain collusion 
between the exiled anti-Fascists and the dominating 


French political parties, with Freemasonry and all its 
influence in the French political world. They put no 
faith in France’s answer that the Liberal-Democratic 
legislation of the Republic did not allow any action 
to be taken by the French Government against the 
conduct of political refugees, Italy had also another 
grievance against France in connection with French 
laws passed to tempt and coerce Italian workmen in 
France — of whom there were many thousands — to 
forego their I talian citizenship. The cumulative effect 
of all these problems and complaints against France 
served to embitter reladons ; but despite the material 
aspects of each separate problem Mussolini always 
maintained that agreement could be reached and even 
an Entente concluded, not by tinkering with this or 
that question, but by creating a new atmosphere of 
trust and friendliness. 

AU that Italy really wanted was to have France 
sympathetic and not antagonistic to Italy’s general 
aims. Once this sympathy was established, the prob- 
lems would easily resolve themselves. On this theory 
Mussolini developed his policy with France, and nego- 
tiations for an Entente were begun in 1925. These 
various problems with France (be it again noted) I 
have intentionally given from the Italian viewpoint. 
It is only by this means that eventual Fascist reactions 
to the Entente negotiations can be seen in their true 

Between 1925 and 1927 Italy also laid the founda- 
tions of Tripolitania as a real active colony. Work for 
the reclamation of the sandy wastes and the commer- 
cial exploitation of North Africa was begun in earnest, 
together with military measures for the complete sub- 
jugation of the hinterland rebel tribes, and the actual 



instead of the nominal display of the Italian tricolour 
on the distant southern boundaries of the Fezzan and 

Being on a fair way towards liquidal;ing her past and 
having acquired a free hand to assert herself as a 
Great Power, the Italy of Mussolini then began to take 
an ever more important place in the comity of nations 
— a respected voice in what I shall call “ World Affairs ” 
as distinct from narrower Foreign Affairs. One of the 
first problems tackled was that of War Debts. In 
November 1925 Finance Minister Volpi was sent by 
Mussolini to the United States to seek more favourable 
Debt payment conditions and to negotiate some Mor- 
gan municipal loans. Agreement was reached for a 
War Debt payment of 2,042 million dollars of principal 
and 365 million dollars of interest payable in sixty-two 
years. The settlement included an annual payment of 
five million dollars for five years with a subsequent 
jump to an annual payment of twelve million. This 
was considered so satisfactory that a novel form of 
thanksgiving to Volpi and to the Governments of the 
United States and Italy was inaugurated by the work- 
men of Genoa, with the approval of Mussolioi. A 
“ Dollar Debt List ” was opened to the public all over 
Italy and the first year’s quota of five million dollars 
due to America under the Volpi settlement was fully 
subscribed even before Volpi got back to Italy. The 
announcement of the success of this practical response 
was made when Volpi appeared in the Chamber on 
December 5, 1925, to make his formal report on the 
Washington visit. 

At the same sitting Mussolini capped this triumph 
by springing to his feet, holding aloft a bulky package 
of documents. “ Here are deeds,” he cried. “ I have 


the honour to present for ratification, the Accord with 
Washington, the International Locarno Peace Pact, a 
Treaty of Arbitration and Commerce with Albania, 
and a General Bill for the ratification of all outstand- 
ing but procrastinated Laws. Finally I present a 
Royal Decree for the acquisition of Italian citizenship 
by the inhabitants of the Aegean Islands. With the 
ratification of these we free ourselves completely from 
the inheritance of the late Governments.” 

It was all very dramatically done and the Deputies, 
including the Liberal leaders Giolitti and Salandra, 
crowded up to the Ministerial benches to congratulate 
the Prime Minister. 

With the immediate burden of War Debt to the 
United States lessened and with the residue of the 
late parliament cleared away, MussoHni’s principles 
for the settlement of world problems gradually moved 
into the orbit of international attention. These princi- 
ples included ; (i) the interdependence of reparations 
and war debts, but as an ideal the cancellation of both 
— an ideal believed profitable not merely for Italy but 
for the whole world, including America ; (2) the neces- 
sity of disarmament. Mussolini’s formula for this, as 
far as Italy was concerned, was ” Willingness to reduce 
armaments to whatsoever low strength so long as that 
strength be not exceeded by any other Continental 
Power.” This formula, translated as a plea for naval 
parity with France, proved another bone of contention 
between Paris and Rome. Mussolini also expressed 
his belief in qualitative rather than quantitative dis- 
armament ; (3) Revision of the Peace Treaties ; 
(4) The entry of Germany into the League of Nations 
and the application of the Treaty clauses which 
restored the parity of German rights ; (5) Reduction 
p 255 


of tariff walls ; and (6) the encouragement of colla- 
boration between the United States, Britain, Italy, 
France and Germany for the adjustment of world 
affairs in view of the rising economic and financial 

Italy’s adherence to the Locarno Pact of 1925 and 
the Thoiry Agreement of 1926 as a guarantor of 
France against German aggression, with rights and 
duties equivalent to those of Britain, gave Italy a new 
and invaluable importance. 

Such was Italy’s position in foreign affairs by 1927 
— five years after the March on Rome, and six years 
before the signing of the Four-Power Pact. 



Juridical Construction of New State. Fundamental Laws. The Basic 
Groups. Defence of the Lira, Blackshirt Social Work. Emigration Re- 
form. Corporative Idea. Labour Charier Published. Fascist igsp 
Figures. Secret Negotiations with the Vatican. 

I N course of the previous two chapters covering the 
years 1925-1927 we have seen the recurring excur- 
sions and alarms of anti-Fascist strife and we have seen 
,the emergence of Italian foreign policy from phases of 
static aspirations to dynamic assertions^ But the 
basically important things in the history of the Fascist 
Revolution over this period have not yet been touched, 
namely, the juridical construction of the Fascist State. 

*A 11 these other matters were merely a record of the 
multifarious happenings which encircled and traversed 
the gradual but steady building-up of the Fascist sys- 
tem of Government and of the Fascist conception of 
the State* Less spectacular than tales of “ attempts ” 
and " treaties,” this inner constructive aspect of the 
Revolution State is apt to be lost sight of. As a matter 
of fact it is this all-important side of contemporary 
Italian history which made me select 1925-1927 as a 
survey span. It was in January 1925, you will remem- 
ber, that Mussolini cleared away all pretence at co- 
operation with any of the other parties and foretold 
the initiation of speedier work for the establishment 
of a Fascist Corporate State : it was in April 1927 that 
the “ Labour Charter ” was published — and with it 
the new Corporate principles came into being. That 



is why 1927 is a significant and “ milestone ” date in 
the history of the movement. 

Within the span of these two years there emerged in 
rapid succession what may be called the fundamental 
laws of the Fascist regime. In spirit and in practice 
the way had already been prepared for the introduc- 
tion of these measures. For convenience’ sake they 
may be divided into ten blocks, but it is important to 
note that these blocks are all dovetailed into each 
other, forming one foundation. 

Through all legislature from 1925 onwards there is 
present a recurring re-invocation of the “ moral ” 
ideals of Fascism, attributes which are often expressed 
in mystic terms — a sort of patriotic religion with the 
name of the Duce as the saviour of Italy. This abstract 
but never absent aspect of Blackshirt development runs 
like a binding cement round every dovetail joint of the 
whole Fascist fabric. 

The ten blocks of laws, passed at high speed and 
without Chamber debate or other opposition, were as 
follows : 

(1) Laws which strengthened and accelerated the 
executive power of Mussolini ^LS Capo del Goverm. 
(Attributions and prerogatives of the Capo del Governo, 
Primo Ministro, Segretario di Stato ; December 24, 1925. 
Faculties of the Executive Power in issuing juridical 
regulations ; January 31, 1926.) 

(2) Laws which centralised authority and guar- 
anteed control of the Fascist Government in the prov- 
inces. (Regularisation of the activities of State, Pro- 
vincial and Gommime clubs, societies and institutes, 
and their personnel ; and of State, Provincial and 
Commune institutions under the tutelage of the State ; 
December 26, 1925. Regularisation of the services of 


State functionaries ; December 24, 1925. The crea- 
tion of the office of Podestd. and the institution of muni- 
cipal Consulta ; February 4, 1926. Extension of the 
Podestd office to every Commune in the realm ; 
September 2, 1926. Extension of the attributes of the 
Civic and Provincial Prefects ; April 3, 1926. Provi- 
sion for the institution of an Inspector Service in the 
Communes and Provinces.) 

(3) Laws supposed to fortify the regime against 
political or moral “ defeatism.” (The Press Laws ; 
December 31, 1925.) 

(4) Laws to safeguard national economic and finan- 
cial interests. (A whole string of measures, stopping 
inflation, checking the danger of a gold-run on the 
Bank of Italy, 1925 ; creating provincial ” Councils 
and Offices of Economy” ; inaugurating a National 
Institute for Exports ; defending the lira, 1926 ; and 
arranging agrarian credits in the kingdom, 1927.) 

Mussolini’s strong stand in support of the lira was 
made public at a speech delivered in the httle provin- 
cial town of Pesaro on August 18, 1926. When aU 
the currencies in the world were beginning to waver 
and when many were taking refuge in inflation, there 
was general surprise and misgiving when the Italian 
Government thus boldly identified itself with a non- 
inflationist policy. Time has shewn that Mussolini’s 
decision was right ; Italy has so far weathered the storm 
with her gold standard intact. Following the Pesaro 
announcement the pound sterling was fixed at 9 2 ‘46 
lire and the dollar at 19 lire as par values. 

On December 1927, by a Decree Law, Italy re- 
turned to the gold standard by repealing the incon- 
vertible paper currency regime and by providing for 
the gold convertibility of Bank of Italy notes. All 



liabilities and paper currency had to be covered by 
the gold reserves of the Bank. This was a step towards 
the fulfilment of the promise made by Mussolini at that 
famous “ defence of the lira ” speech at Pesaro, 
above noted, when he said ; “ I will never inflict 
on this wonderful people of Italy, which has been 
working for four years like a hero and suffering like a 
saint, the moral shame of the economic collapse of the 

(5) Laws co-ordinating public works. (A long list 
in which questions of labour, employment, the Syndi- 
cates, credit and communications are involved, 

(6) Measures for the consolidation of the armed 
defensive forces of the State. (Initiation of regulations 
for the reorganisation of the General Staff, 1925 ; and 
moves for the creation of a centralised Defence Minis- 
try, 1927.) 

(7) Laws to promote public health : social, and 
women and child welfare. Progressive taxation of 
bachelors ; December 19, 1925. Maternity and in- 
fant protection and assistance ; December 10, 1925. 
Creation of National “ Balilla ” for the physical and 
moral education of youth, June 2, 1927 ; Anti-disease 
measures. Sanitary dispositions and intensive aug- 
mentations of provisions against malaria, tubercu- 
losis and cancer, 1927. Regulation to encourage and 
facilitate co-operation between the Fascist Govern- 
ment and the Fascist Party for the institution of sum- 
mer camps, sports and recreations. 

These seven directions of development meant a 
change in the character, but not in the spirit of the 
Blackshirt squads. With their enemies driven off the 
field the Fascist centres were no longer gathering 


points for defensive or punitive action. They became 
places of social influence round which Government 
and Party sought to concentrate the activities and 
ambitions of the new generations, always keeping in 
the foreground, however, the combative spirit of the 
early days. 

For this reorganisation Farinacci, as already noted, 
was succeeded in March 1926 by Augusto Turati as 
Party Secretary, and in June of that year Turati 
received the authorisation of the Grand Council 
to revise the Party membership list, to prepare 
it no longer for civil strife but for the practical 
construction of the State by means of placing Black- 
shirts in key-positions within the Syndicates, develop- 
ing the interests of the workers, encouraging the parti- 
cipation of Uruversity and other youth in the Fascist 
movement, and preparing for the future physique of 
the race through sports. 

(8) Laws for the increase of Italy’s position and 
prestige abroad and in her colonies. (Diplomatic- 
Consular reorganisation, Jvme 2, 1927.) 

The most significant and striking provision for the 
prestige of Italy was the abohshment in 1927 of the 
special passport under which Italian emigrants for- 
merly travelled. The policy of the old regime, as ex- 
pressed in 1900, was to facilitate the departure of 
emigrants from Italian shores irrespective of who or 
what they were and without Government concern as 
to what became of them. Making a virtue of neces- 
sity (in face of America’s post-war “ quota ” reserva- 
tions), Mussolini in 1922 pronounced that emigration 
was an evil ; and in 1925 he organised control over 
the emigration centres. 

The designation “ emigrants ” had already been 



changed to “ Italians abroad,” and the “ General 
Commissariat ” had been altered to “ The General 
Office for Italians abroad,” when there sprung up in 
the United States during 1925 a “ Fascist League ” 
which soon had a membership of 12,000. The 
League’s propaganda, however, was too directly in 
favour of Italian nationalism as against the obliga- 
tions of its members as American citizens. The 
League was therefore disbanded in 1930, its place 
being taken by specially developed Fascist centres 
whose activities were developed on the basis of eight 
rules which had been drawn up by Mussolini in 1924 
for the conduct of Italians in other lands. It reads : 

1. Fascists abroad must observe the laws of the country 

which harbours them. They ought to set a daily 
example in this, even, if necessary, to the native 
citizens of the country. 

2. Do not take part in the internal politics of the country 

in which you are guests. 

3. Do not raise discord among your compatriots, but try 

rather to reach harmony in the shade of the Lictor. 

4. Give an example of probity, public and private. 

5. Respect the representatives of Italy abroad, and obey 

their guidance and instructions. 

6. Defend Italianity, past and present. 

7. Help to organise assistance for Italians who find them- 

selves in need, 

8. Even as I exact and see to it that Italians are disci- 

plined at home, see you to it that you are disciplined 

This 1930 reversion to the 1924 rules for the conduct 
of Italians settled abroad is outside the 1925-1927 span 
of events now under review, but the circumstances 
responsible for the change arose through Memorial 
Day incidents in 1926 in the State of New York — 



incidents of public order in connection with the 
“ Fascist League ” which had raised the question in 
the United States : “ whether an American citizen 
has the right to belong to a political organisation of a 
foreign, although friendly, country, even if that 
country be the citizen’s birthplace?” 

In 1927 Mussolini said : “ Fascist Italy wishes to 
send out beyond its confines only the competent 
classes, not as a remedy for misery but for the 
necessity of expansion and for Italian prestige in the 
world. But our rise should not constitute a supply 
of life to make good the demographic poverty of other 
nations. And we must beware of the fact that many 
countries favour anti-Fascism only in order to create 
for our emigrants conditions favourable to their be- 
coming denationalised.” 

In pre-Fascist days there were three types of Italian 
passports. One kind for the usual travelling and 
business classes ; another for the workmen going to a 
specific undertaking ; and a third kind, which was 
just a “ bill of exit,” for the unfortunate, prospectless 
and very large emigrant class. Fascist legislation 
changed this system, removing the stigma of social 

“ I have given orders,” said Mussolini, “ for the 
abolition of the passport for emigrants with its infer- 
ence of incompetence and as a token of the luckless 
labourer. Instead there will be a single type of pass- 
port for all citizens of Italy indiscriminately. Every 
honest Italian, true to the regime, has the right to hold 
up his head proudly in his own country and abroad, 
whatever may be his social position.” 

(9) Along with these laws were also passed new 
organic measures for the administration of the North 



African colonies of Tripolitania and Gyrenaica. 
(June 26, 1927.) 

(10) Laws for the advancement of the principle of 
the Corporative State. These laws, being in a con- 
tinuous state of evolution, are better traced not only 
through the Statute Book but also through the resolu- 
tions of the Fascist Grand Council, whose more de- 
scriptively worded decisions are invariably translated 
into law. 

On October 6, 1925, the Council decided on the 
juridical recognition of the Fascist Syndicates, the 
institution of a Labour Court for the settlement 
of trade disputes and the prohibition of strikes and 

On March 30, 1926, it demanded the creation of a 
Ministry of Corporations as a legislative corollary to 
the more deliberative and specialised National Coun- 
cil of Corporations. In July the new Ministry came 
into being, Mussohni himself first taking over the new 
portfolio in addition to his other posts. 

In his inaugural address Mussohni said : “ The 
Ministry of Corporations is not a bureaucratic organ 
and it in no way intends to substitute the Syndical 
organisations in their necessarily autonomous action 
of arranging, selecting and bettering their adherents. 
The Ministry of Corporations is the organ through 
which, at centre and periphery, the corporative idea is 
integrated, holding the balance between the interests 
and the resources of the economic field. This is alone 
possible on State terrain, because only the State tran- 
scends the contrasting interests of individuals and of 
groups, co-ordinating them to superior ends, with 
results more quickly gained by the fact that all the 
economic organisations — ^recognised, guaranteed and 


safeguarded in the Corporative State — live in the 
common orbit of Fascism.” 

On April 30, 1927, the Labour Charter was pub- 
lished. It is not my intention in this chronicle to 
analyse Fascist doctrine as such or to concentrate 
attention on the measures which give it practical ex- 
pression ; that all in due course. What I am here 
concerned with and what concerns me to the con- 
clusion of Part I. of this book is the record of the 
struggle of Fascism, its successful survival and its 
points of contact with the life of the Italian people, 
with just sufficient indication of the character of the 
measures being passed to give a very general idea of 
their purpose. 

The Party itself during 1925-1927 developed its 
ramifications to embrace aU phases of Italian life and 
to enlist the rising generations. At the time of the 
publication of the Labour Charter in 1927 there were 
811,896 men Fascists ; 50,161 women ; and of youth 
units: Avanguardisti •, 405,954 ; 14,215 

Giovani Italiane ; 80,034 Piccole Italiane and 12,560 
University Fascist Students. Of Fascists in Public 
Services there were : 251,000 Civil Service clerks ; 
79,000 teachers ; go, 000 Railway employees ; 77,000 
State Industry employees ; and 41,000 Post Office 
Fascists, making a total of 2,193,823 — to which have to 
be added the tens of thousands marshalled in the 
various Syndical federations and in many cultural, 
welfare, recreation and sports institutions organised 
by the regime. 

With these figures in mind, and in the knowledge 
that the vast majority of his fellow-countrymen were 
in favour of the movement, Mussolini speaking for the 
Government in presenting the publication of the 



Labour Charter to the Chamber said : ” We have 
created the Unitarian Fascist State. Remember that 
from the times of the Roman Empire onwards there 
was no longer a Unitarian State. And we hereby 
solemnly re-affirm our doctrine concerning the State. 
We re-affirm no less energetically my formula of 
d everything within the State, nothing against the 
State, and nothing outside of the State.J ” 

I have referred to the “ moral cement ” with 
which Mussolini sought to bind the fabric of the 
nation. In this respect he did not faU to develop, with 
extreme care and precaution, the betterment of rela- 
tions with the Holy See. The 1925-1927 period was 
marked with secret negotiations with the Church. 
With the Democratic-Liberal parties driven out of 
political Life and their opinion stifled, and with Free- 
masonry made a crime, the position was now ripe for 
a serious attempt to solve the Roman Question. 

'Mussolini’s belief in religion as a spiritual necessity 
for the completion of the life of the State has already 
been revealed. In the Roman Catholic faith he saw 
two great things for the advancement and completion 
of his Fascist ideal. He recognised that, despite all 
the conflicts of the Risorgimento and despite genera- 
tions of friction between Church and State, Italy was 
and must always be a Catholic country. It was there- 
fore logical and proper that, given the need of religion 
for the completion of the State, Catholicism should 
be the State religion, official, recognised and fully 

He also saw that with the Church as the spiritual 
ally of the Italian people, his dream of Rome as the 
focal point of world-thought would be strengthened. 
His reinvocation of a Greater, Imperial Rome would 


rise up and enshield the Chair of St. Peter, Cathedral 
of the First Apostle. He felt the spiritual negation of 
a state of affairs in which a Catholic people, inheritors 
of Imperial Rome, had a mere modus vivendi with a 
Holy See whose Head was the successor to the Imperial 
title of Pontifex Maximus. 

He wanted to solve a problem that had baffled the 
best brains in Italy for sixty years and he wanted the 
notion of a Universal Church to connote gens Romana 
in world-thought. 

But he did not intend the absolutist ideas of the 
growing Fascist State to make any surrender to the 
absolutism of the Catholic Church. He maintained 
the cleavage between the things that are of Caesar and 
those that are of God ; and he did not intend to 
abandon the Liberal formula of Cavour “ a free 
Church in a free State ” with its corollary of “ liberty 
of the individual conscience.” 

Negotiations with the Church for the squaring of 
these various circles were begun in 1925. By 1926 
agreement on principle had been secretly reached in 
which the representatives of the Holy See and the 
Italian Government admitted (i) that a change of 
relations was essential, (2) that the Law of Guarantees 
should be abolished, (3) that, through a territorial 
arrangement, the apparent and effective independence 
of the Holy See should be assured and, (4) that a 
political accord and Concordat should be drawn up 
as a basis for new Italo-Ecclesiastical legislation. 

With occasional polemical outbursts on both sides, 
work to this end now proceeded ; but these outbursts 
had only a theoretical value, — because the negotia- 
tions were kept so strictly secret that their very ex- 
istence was debated. 



In the meantime Mussolini showed his goodwill by 
a number of unilateral acts such as the gift of the in- 
valuable Chigi archives to the Vatican Library ; the 
restitution of several convents, including the specially 
sacred Convent of Assisi ; the re-establishment of 
religious teaching in schools ; the restoration of the 
crucifix in schools, colleges. Government offices, the 
law courts, Parliament and in the Colosseum ; the 
official civic recognition of the major Church festivals ; 
and the appointment of chaplains to the Blackshirt 
Militia and its junior Fascist Youth organisations. 



Attempt on the King. Terrorist Attacks on Italian Officials Abroad. 
Attempt on Crown Prince. Schirru. Sbardallotlo. Bovone. Special 
Tribunal Bu^. “ Liberty and Justice.” Amnesty. Lipari Demobilised. 

T he next moves in the final establishment of Fascism 
as a form of Government, after the publication 
of the Labour Charter in 1927, were the passing of the 
Electoral Reform Bill in May 1928 ; the solution of 
the “ Roman Question,” in February 1929 ; the 
General Election of March 1929 ; and the opening of 
the first “ Corporative ” Parliament in April of the 
same year. The Chamber as then reorganised no 
longer consisted of Deputies representing Parties and 
Constituencies, but of Deputies representing Fascism 
and specific interests of the people — the Chamber as 
a whole representing the total interests of the nation. 
With the Syndicates, the Federations (Syndicate 
groups), and the Ministry of Corporations in being, 
with the Grand Council exercising its will over Parlia- 
ment and with the Fascist Blackshirt Militia, as we 
have seen, gradually transformed into a means of 
maintaining the continuity of Fascism’s original com- 
bativeness, while at the same time exercising a new 
function of transfusing that spirit of combativeness into 
the rising generations, the absolute dominion of 
Mussolini’s Fascism in Italy was completed. All 
struggle was ended and what followed was but the 
perfectioning of the Fascist machine as experience, 
experiment and circumstances dictated, sjg 


April 1929 is therefore a date which puts a period 
to the chronology of the rise and establishment of the 
Fascist State ; but from 1929 on to the completion, in 
1932, of ten years of Fascist tenure of power from the 
March on Rome there are activities which concern 
the history of the general movement and regime. In 
this final phase I shall once more follow the method 
of separating the strands and following each to its 
end, leaving the patient reader to recollect that all the 
sets of events are contemporaneous ; and I shall put 
a still further burden on the reader by asking him to 
note in his mind that 1929 is the real completion date 
of Mussolini’s transformation of the Italian State — the 
narration of events after that being merely a gathering 
up of loose ends so as to have the field clear for a 
totalised survey in the third part of the book. The 
strands which I propose to unravel in turn are as 
before : anti-Fascist attacks and Fascist defence ; 
foreign, colonial and world development ; internal 
constructive work, relations with the Church, and 
perfectioning of the Corporative State. 

As the years went on, with Mussolini, despite all 
anti-Fascist prophecies, sitting more and more firmly 
in power, the anti-Fascists from abroad were forced 
more and more to criminal violence as their sole means 
of opposition. 

In April 1927 an attempt was made on the life of 
the King of Italy. The dming of the infernal machine 
was slightly faulty, so that the King had passed the 
spot of the bomb’s location about five minutes before 
it went off, killing fourteen and wounding forty of the 
general public. A round-up and punishment of all 
suspected Communists followed this incident. Then 
began a long series of murderous attempts against 


Italian officials stationed in other lands. Italian 
consular officials and the consular buildings became 
the favourite targets of bomb outrages. During the 
next four years tv/enty-seven attempts were made in 
various parts of the world. These tried the patience 
of the Italian Government and people to their limit. 
The assaults were looked on in Italy as conclusive 
evidence to what unscrupulous straits the enemies of 
the regime had been reduced. And the fuorusciti 
of the old democratic parties, who developed anti- 
Fascist propaganda abroad, were, on account of 
that propaganda, held morally responsible for the 
criminal inflammation of the frankly murderous 

At Nancy in August 1927, a bomb was exploded at 
the Italian considate, but without damage or victims. 
At the Buenos Aires consulate in May 1928, ten people 
were killed and forty wounded by a bomb outrage. 
Most of the victims were emigrants. At Li^ge in 
August 1928, and at Tunis in December 1938 the 
consulates were bombed. At Luxemburg in April 30, 
1929, the Italian Legation councillor was shot dead. 
At Nice in September 1929 a bomb was thrown at an 
ex-Servicemen’s excursion, killing two and wounding 
twelve. In Paris on September 1929 the Italian 
consul was shot dead. At Brussels in October 1929 
an attempt was made on the life of the Grown Prince 
during his bethrothal visit to the Belgian capital. The 
fact that former leaders of the Itsjian Liberal and 
Socialist groups gave evidence at the Brussels trial in 
September 1930 in extenuation of the would-be 
assassin’s offence caused feeling to run higher than 
ever in Italy against the fuorusciti^ their foreign patrons, 
and all their works. 

ft 241 


This was followed by a conflict with Communists 
at Faenza in Italy when about a dozen lives were lost 
on both sides. The foreign toll began again. At 
Cordova in January 1930, the consulate was bombed, 
but undamaged. During the same month a plot for 
the assassination of the Grown Prince during the 
approaching wedding festivities in Rome was dis- 
covered in Paris. At Zurich in June 1931 a con- 
sulate official was shot at and gravely wounded. At 
Cannes in February 1931 another was shot at, but 
miraculously escaped. In May the Anarchist Schirru 
was captured in Rome and found guilty of a plot 
against Mussolini and executed. At Lugano in June 
^93 ^ attempt was made on the consul. At 

Paris in July 1931, an Italian Fascist Workmen’s Club 
was bombed and four wounded. At Grenoble in- 
August 1 93 1) bomb attempt against an Italian Social 
Club. At Pittsburg in August 1931, consulate dam- 
aged by dynamiters. At Digne in October 1931, 
consul shot at and wounded. Consulate at Chambery, 
in November 1931, bombed and damaged ; at same 
place on same day a bomb was thrown at a Fascist 
gathering, wounding a vice-consul and a consular 
agent. At Scranton, U.S.A,, in November 1931, a 
bomb was thrown at the vice-consul’s house, wreck- 
ing the house, and wounding the vice-consul. At 
Philadelphia on November 1931 a bomb was thrown 
at the consulate. At New York during December 
1931 parcels containing infernal machines were sent 
out addressed to Fascist officials. Three postal work- 
ers were killed before the plot was discovered. An- 
other set of similar parcels addressed to various Italian 
consuls was then seized and the bombs exploded by 



At Lugano in January 1932 a bomb was found in 
the consulate and in the same month at Paris the 
Italian consul-general was shot at and wounded. In 
June 1932 an Anarchist Sbardallotto was caught in 
Rome armed to assassinate Mussolini, and at the same 
time a man called Bovone, the author of a series of 
minor terrorist explosions in Italy and believed to have 
plotted against Mussolini, was also caught. Both were 
found guilty by the Special Defence of the State tri- 
bunal, and executed. These cases were followed by 
further bombings against consulates and the personnel 
of Blackshirt institutions. One of the most notorious 
cases was the dynamiting of the house in Philadelphia 
of the chairman of the Sons of Italy Society, when the 
wife of the chairman was killed and twelve people 
injured, including four children. In February 1933 
the United States Federal Police discovered evidence 
of an anti-Fascist terrorist gang with ramifications 
over several States. 

If the above List included attempts, murders and 
woundings in connection with junior Fascist officials 
and Italian subjects in other lands known to be Fascist 
sympathisers, the catalogue of crime would be trebled. 
The general world-unrest of this period from 1927 on- 
wards was also considered to contribute towards 
fostering the mentality that chose such homicidal 
political methods. This feeling is reflected in an 
article then written by Mussolini in the Popolo d'ltalia 
in which he spoke of “ the ferocity and stupidity of 
certain recurring crimes ” as symptomatic of a “ white 
racial society imperilled by decadence.” 

Giolitti died on July 17, 1928, at the age of eighty- 
six, and although he died faithful to his old parliamen- 
tary ideals, he is said to have denounced, shortly before 



his passing, the whole behaviour of the fuomsciti. In 
his latter days he seldom took his place in the 
Chamber ; but aged and erect he represented an 
epoch which only ended with his death. 

Over the same period as that covered by the above- 
enumerated list of violent anti-Fascist acts abroad the 
Special Tribunal was busy in Italy trying Communists 
and anti-Fascist sympathisers who were periodically 
rounded up. It was like a vicious circle. Over looo 
prisoners were sentenced, many receiving punish- 
ments of over ten years’ imprisonment. Cesare Rossi, 
ex-Secretary of the Fascist Party, whom we saw 
fleeing Italy in the chapter on Matteotti, was de- 
coyed on to Italian soil at Lake Garda in September 
1929, captured, found guilty of co-operating with the 
Paris fuorusciti and sentenced to thirty years. 

A group of these fuorusciti, who had at one time be- 
longed to the relatively moderate parties of the 
Italian Opposition groups, formed themselves in 1928 
into a “ National Alliance of Liberty ” for the purpose 
of centralising anti-Fascist propaganda : but by 1930 
this Alliance had developed an extremist wing known 
as “ Liberty and Justice ” which dominated aU activi- 
ties. “ Liberty and Justice ” added belief in violence 
to its immediate creed ; and the members of this 
secret society were for this reason believed by the 
Fascists to be co-operating with the Communists and 
Anarchists as executive allies in their crime movement. 
Allegation of this was produced at the trial of the 
Anarchist Sbardallotto, causing a Press outburst in 
Italy which held all the elements of the scattered 
Opposition as incriminated. 

This Liberty and Justice association developed 
clandestine propaganda in Italy during 1929-1930. 



The Fascist Government at the same time organised a 
secret volunteer service known as the O.V.R.A. (this 
mysterious title being supposed to mean Opera Vigil- 
anza Reati Antinazionali) . It first became known to the 
public after the arrest in November 1930 of two young 
intellectuals who were identified with the Liberty and 
Justice activities, and each sentenced to fifteen years’ 

One of the prime movers of this secret anti-Fascist 
society turned out to be a youth in the employment 
of the Italian Government as a Fascist propaganda 
lecturer in the United States. In October 1931 this 
youth hired a plane in France and flew over Rome 
dropping “ National Alliance ” anti-Fascist leaflets, 
and thereafter disappeared from public ken. I cite these 
matters to illustrate the long-distance campaign which 
the enemies of Fascism were now waging. 

No such sporadic acts of subversive crime or Liberal 
penetration could ever by this time have hoped to 
overturn the strongly fortified Fascist Government. 
The regeneration of the Italian nation was more- 
over becoming more patent with every month, and 
the regime more acclaimed by the great majority of 
the Italian people. 

It was Mussolini’s dream to have every Italian a 
convinced Fascist. He longed to be able to have no 
more Special Defence Tribunals, no more conjino, no 
more denunciations of anti-Fascist Italians abroad. 
As evidence of his will in this matter he sought to 
crown the celebrations held in honour of the Tenth 
Anniversary, the “ Decennale,^^ of the March on Rome 
with a general amnesty. At Milan on October 25, 
1932, he made a speech in which he spoke of a pending 
“ gesture of forgiveness to the outcast and deluded.” 



It was to be “ an act of mercy in favour of political 
adversaries who had deceived themselves or had been 
deceived concerning the strength and durability of the 
Fascist regime.” Nine days later an amnesty decree 
was published. 

At that date there were 1056 people announced as 
serving sentences for anti-Fascist crimes. Of this 
total 423 were liberated in terms of the amnesty ; 204 
had their sentence reduced by three years ; and 12 
by five years — the total liberated being 639. At the 
same date those confined on the islands were 983 plus 
103 in transit. Of this total of 1086, 595 were released. 
In the spring of 1933 the island of Lipari, the principal 
location of political conjinati, was closed as a detention 
centre and its staff demobilised. 

The 1932 amnesty was followed in a few weeks by 
another decree annulling the penalties inflicted on a 
group of 17 fuorusciti who, in accordance with the 
Law of January 31, 1926, had been outlawed with loss 
of Italian citizenship and forfeiture of all property in 

The names on the list invite thought, for they show 
how the whirligig of time and circumstance could 
divide erstwhile comrades on those political battle- 
fields which we have traversed in course of this chron- 
icle. The two major episodes in Mussohni’s career 
which split friendships and changed close colleagues 
into bitter enemies were his abandonment of the 
Socialist Party when that Party pronounced against 
intervention in the Great War, and the reactions 
hostile to the Fascist regime after the Mattcotti affair. 
People prominently identified with these two episodes 
figure among the condoned fuorusciti. For instance, 
it contained the names of Emilio Bazzi, former Pro- 


fessor at Ravenna University, a Republican and friend 
of the Mussolinis in the old Forli days ; Angelo 
Tonelli, Socialist and former friend, who became one 
of the leading anti-Fascist organisers in Switzerland ; 
Vincenzo Vacirca, Socialist deputy, another erst- 
while friend who had become editor of an anti- 
Fascist newspaper in New York. 

Then there was Francesco Scozzese, a Socialist com- 
rade of Mussolini in the old pre-war days when they 
both worked on the Avanti newspaper. Mussolini’s 
penultimate and fiercest duel was fought with Scoz- 
zese. At Leghorn they fought fifteen bouts on end 
with sabres, Scozzese finally fainting from loss of 
blood. They became reconciled personally, but re- 
mained unrelenting political adversaries. 

Of those on the list whose enmity arose indirectly 
out of the Matteotti matter through the “ moral 
question,” there was Giuseppe Donati, ex-Fascist 
Deputy and former collaborator with MussoHni on the 
Popolo dl Italia ; Massimo Rocca, ex-Fascist deputy 
and one-time member of the Fascist Directory; 
GftctaB«3=5SaBli^i«i, the- -firsFESssrio 

(Biaekshi¥t-^FEf^'ni’_Ei®r€«ce. Other cases which 
involved more violent changes away from loyalty 
were those of Cesare Rossi, ex-Secretary of the Party, 
and Arturo Fasciolo, who had been one of Mussolini’s 
confidential stenographers. 

Thus closes the story of the conflict of the Fascists 
and anti-Fascists until the end of the Blackshirt 
Decennale. -It reveals that personal vindictiveness has 
no place in Mussolini’s make-up^ 



National and World Affairs. Italy’s Attitude in igsS. Naval Talks 
with France. The Parity Snag. Mr. Henderson's Effort. Mussolini 
opens World Appeal. “ Clean Slate ” Plea to America. East Mediter- 
ranean Peace. Malta, Position in iggs. Rise of Hitler. Feeling 
against Yugoslavia. Italy with France or Germany ? Four-Power Pact. 

T he world economic crisis began to put its imprint 
on the foreign policies of all nations in the year 
1928. Before that date economic and political prob- 
lems inherent in any post-war period were looked on 
by each country concerned from almost wholly a 
national point of view. As the depression grew and 
settled over the globe it became ever more patent that 
these conflicting viewpoints were not only augmenting 
the gathering shadows but were to a large degree their 
cause. It became patent as the years advanced that 
the life of aU nations as a complex whole as well as the 
lives of the individual countries were at stake. 

Foreign policies accordingly moved, between the 
years 1928 and 1932, with a speed in ratio to the 
growing common danger, towards a common or cor- 
related policy, because it was realised that only by 
collaboration could civilisation, as we know it, be 
saved. The world had become too small to wthstand, 
when divided, the devastating repercussions of the 
universal and inflexible laws of economy and finance. 
’But international collaboration meant that common 
principles and formulas of action had to be found.i 


The period now under review is characterised by 
polemical and diplomatic clashes which marked the 
search for these necessary common principles and for- 
mulas. The conferences of the immediate post-war 
years were inter-AUied and ex-AUied discussions for 
the imposition and maintenance of peace based on 
victory. They were therefore, vis-d-vis the beaten 
nations, unilateral discussions. The laws, snares, pit- 
falls and tricks of international finance, however, by 
tangling the interests of all nations into an endless 
knot, hastened the need of common discussion, else 
the knot had strangled Europe. Germany , the sole 
ex-enemy unit which remained a Great Power, gradu- 
ally assumed — first through the League, then through 
insistence on the neglected clauses of the Versailles 
Treaty, which conceded her conditional but none the 
less equality rights, and finally through the Pact of 
Four— an ever fuller collaborative place in the comity 
of nations. The United States, longing to be quit of 
Europe, was jolted out of such hope by the lariat tugs 
of this all-encompassing financial crisis. It found 
itself by 1932 no longer a spectator but a feUow- 
member — crestfallen but still avuncular — actually cor- 
ralled with the whole European family. 

By the spring of 1933 the world crisis in its localised 
forms of unemployment and bank failures harassed the 
American people. The complicated niceties of the 
situation in their interlocked, transnational aspects 
were ignored by the American public. Washington 
moved towards a modified form of dictatorship in an 
effort to throw the United States clear of entangle- 
ments, home and foreign. The closing months of 1933 
saw America neither crestfallen nor avuncular, but 
reliant and collaborative. 



At first sight it may seem that the above descriptive 
cartoon of world affairs from 1929 onwards has little 
enough to do with the story of Fascist Italy ! But if 
you will recall what has already been written of Musso- 
Uni’s foreign poUcy you will see that the Fascist leader 
had already, and very long ago, enunciated principles 
and formulas which were destined to be highly impor- 
tant if not prime influences towards reaching the solu- 
tion of the great problems as confronted by world 
collaboration today. The whole period 1929-1933 
shows the Italy of Mussolini deliberately moving to 
a high place in world affairs — an infinitely higher 
place than it ever held in its national history, a place 
only comparable, for its influence on world thought, 
to the distant but now not forgotten past of the 
ItaUan people when Italy was last united under the 
insignia of the ancient instead of modern Roman 

And now that Fascist Italy is on this high consulta- 
tive level with the greatest Powers of the modem 
western world, it is one of the byplays of the so-called 
higher poUtics to calculate what Italy is likely to do 
in international co-operative poUcy. Mussolini has 
already given all the clues. We have seen how from 
the very beginning of his foreign responsibilities Musso- 
Uni had not looked on peace treaties as “ eternal,” 
and how he had voiced the opinion ‘that Germany 
must be re-established if Europe were to be saved from 
disasters We have seen how he had criticised the 
post-war poUcy of France. We have seen how he 
favoured the economic and political independence of 
Austria and Hungary, and we have seen how he dis- 
approved of France’s Little Entente encircling bloc of 
nations. From these factors it was deduced in the 


spring of 1933 that Italy was moving towards a species 
of Eiitente with Germany as against France. 

On the other hand, we have also seen that the pre- 
vention of a reunion of the Germane- Austrian nations 
is a basic principle of his foreign policy, and of how 
the Nazis, and the Nazi Government, approve of that 
very union. We have, again, also seen how Fascist 
Italy is a fellow guarantor with Britain in the Locarno 
Pact guaranteeing French security against German 
aggression on the Rhine. These factors in turn 
seemed to indicate that Italy must lean to France. It 
was the interplay of searching consideration of aU 
these factors in all their aspects, as we will soon see, 
which contributed, among other things, to the 
delay between consideration of the first draft of the 
Four- Power Pact as submitted by Mussolini to 
Macdonald on the Ostia road to Rome on March 18, 
1933, and the signing of the final text on July 15, 1933. 

It may here be noted in connection with the story 
of the rise and establishment of Fascism that the con- 
sistency of the Itahan Government’s poficy was due 
to the fact of the Blackshirt regime. Mussolini was 
the creative motive force of that policy, but it was 
the steadying and controlling result of the Fascist 
Party flywheel which gave it smooth continuity of 
action. Between 1927-1933 British foreign policy 
varied under Conservative, Labour and National 
Governments. American policy changed with its 
Presidents. France’s foreign policy— while remaining 
with “ security ” nailed to the mast — ^varied the 
number and quality of the nails with every one of its 
many changes of Premiers. German policy has swung 
with the advent of Hider. No other Government has 


enjoyed such complete internal freedom of action as 
that of Fascist Italy. 

It has not to be imagined, however, that Fascist 
Italy suddenly washed itself clean of the dross of 
everyday foreign politics and became a glittering 
prophet and saviour of a tottering world ! Far from 
it. The Government’s constructive utterances on the 
international deadlocks of 1927-1933 came mostly as 
i||terpellations in debates with Italy’s neighbours— 
debates and references which are marked with the 
special vehemence of Fascist national self-interest 
rather than with universal altruism. And to the 
official expressions of Governmental views there have 
to be added the semi-official and the non-official but 
indicative sporadic polemics of the Fascist Press. 

During this phase of foreign policy, newspaper 
comment was characterised — over carefully timed 
periods — by sabre rattling on the Brenner, ultra- 
nationalism in Dalmatia, roars at Yugoslavia, inter- 
vention in the affairs of Malta, and attacks on 
France. On the other hand, the continuation of 
the policy of trade and conciliation treaties with all 
countries, including those on occasion trounced by 
the Press, was not interrupted. But the great inter- 
national constructive element becomes more and 
more dominating and urgent as 1933 is approached. 
Let us take these foreign and international affairs in 
their order. 

In June 1928 the Italian Government, in answer to 
criticisms that it was following a foreign and imperial- 
istic policy fay favour of Britain, asserted the complete 
independence of Italy in these matters, Foreign Minis- 
ter Grandi in the Senate declaring : “ Italy has no 
need today to ask authorisation of any kind for her 



policy,” and in stating that “ Italy is perfectly 
autonomous in conducting her foreign affairs ” he con- 
cluded, “ I would add, however, that one of the car- 
dinal points of our policy is friendship with Britain.” 
In this same speech he announced that conversations 
with France had taken a hopeful turn and that the 
Tangier question had been solved to the satisfaction 
of all parties. He recalled the traditional friendship 
that existed between Italy and Hungary and indica1;ad 
how the development of that friendship was being 
directed among other things to special facilitations for 
Hungarian traffic to the port of Fiume. From this he 
passed to Yugoslavia and entered a troubled area. He 
recalled that the Italo-Yugoslav Treaty of Friendship 
signed away back in 1924 and integrated in the 1925 
Treaty of Nettuno had never been ratified by Belgrade. 
He denounced “anti-Italian” incidents in Yugo- 
slavia as “ bound up with a complete ignorance of 
real conditions in Fascist Italy.” 

Turning to the Peace treaties, Grandi, voicing the 
convictions of Mussolini and the Fascist Government, 
said : “ Peace treaties are sacred in that they are the 
conclusion of great and bloody efforts and mark the 
end of great sacrifices and great griefs ; but Peace 
treaties are not the outcome of divine justice but of 
human intelligence under influences — especially at the 
finish of a gigantic war — of a very exceptional order. 
Gould anyone dare affirm that the Peace treaties 
from Versailles onwards are perfect works ? They 
are the work of human hands, I say, and therefore 
not perfect ; but, I add, always capable of being im- 
proved. There are in the Peace treaties great facts 
concluded which correspond to the supreme reasoning 
of justice — great facts which remain' as such, and 


which no one of us thinks of revoking or of even dis- 
cussing. But there are territorial, colonial, financial 
and social clauses in the treaties which could be dis- 
cussed, reviewed and bettered with the aim of pro- 
longing the duration of the treaties themselves, and 
therefore of assuring a longer period of peace,” He 
prophesied that in the matter of treaty re-adjustment 
Europe would be confronted with a “ most interesting 
and delicate point in its history any time between 
the years 1935 and 1940.” 

From this the Foreign Minister again reiterated 
Mussolini’s claim concerning the interdependence of 
war debts and reparations, and fixed Italy’s position 
on the armaments questions on the following five 
points, (i) The interdependence of all kinds of arma- 
ments. (2) The proportion of armaments should not 
be based on the status quo. (3) The limits of Italian 
armaments cannot have an absolute character, but 
must be relative to the total armaments of the other 
States, that is, parity with the most-armed European- 
Continental nation. (4) The Itahan Government 
declares itself a priori ready to accept as the limits of 
its own armaments whatsoever figure, even the very 
lowest, so long as it is not surpassed by any other 
European-Continental Power. And (5) the methods 
employed to obtain the limitations ought to be char- 
acterised with the greatest simplicity and should not 
imply the necessity of external control. 

It is of considerable interest and importance to note 
how Mussolini keeps hammering away with the enun- 
ciation of his points until they emerge from the more 
or less abstract realm olex-parte statements and become 
driven home in the practical international field, the 
process sometimes taking years. We have seen how 


his ideas — the pensiero — in internal affairs became 
translated into effective action. It is now the turn of 
foreign affairs to experience this materialisation from 
pensiero into azione. 

In the spring of 1928 the Austrian Chancellor and 
a group of pan-Germanists opened a strong criticism 
of Fascist Italy’s handling of the Austrian-born min- 
ority in the Alto Adige. Mussolini did not allow this 
to pass. On March 3 he denied the Austrian accusa- 
tions, catalogued the benefits conferred on the new 
Alpine regions by Italy and once more emphasised the 
inviolability of the Brenner. “ This is the last time 
I shall speak on this theme,” said Mussolini. “ Next 
time I shall let acts do the speaking.” He insisted that 
the Austrian manifestations were unjustified and pro- 
vocative, and declared that the Fascist Government 
had adopted in the Province of Bolzano the same 
policy as in the ninety-two other Provinces of the 
realm, and that Bolzano shared with them the same 
rights and duties.” “ It is time to say that aU further 
Brenner manifestations are useless and hurtful. As 
far as lies in our power we wish to be friends of the 
German world, but on condition that our own security 
is not even vaguely placed in question. Today we 
make it known to the Tyrolese, to the Austrians and 
to the world that all Italy, with her dead and her 
living, stands at the Brenner.” 

It is typical of Mussolini’s conduct of foreign rela- 
tions that when need be he clarifies any given situation 
as far as Italy’s attitude is concerned with almost 
brutal frankness. After the shock of such declaration 
had died down, then, with both parties knowing 
where each stands, he re-establishes friendship and 
paves the way for a collaborative amelioration of 



reciprocal interests. This was the case with the Tyro- 
lese agitation. By July the Italo-Austrian trouble had 
blown over, and today — after further minor breezes — 
the two countries are co-operating for the assurance 
of an independent Austria which in its turn is one 
of Italy’s best guarantees for the security of the 

During 1928 a triangle of treaties of friendship 
which guaranteed peace in the Eastern Mediterranean 
was engineered by Mussolini among the countries 
whose interests had hitherto been considered irrecon- 
cilable- — Italy, Greece and Turkey. During the au- 
tumn of 1928 the Italo-Greece treaty was concluded, 
followed by a similar treaty with Turkey at the end 
of the year. The subsequent treaty of friendship be- 
tween Turkey and Greece completed a compact bond 
of mutual agreements of great importance for peace 
in Eastern Europe and for the preservation of Italy’s 
commercial interests and traditional policy in the 
Eastern Mediterranean. This reassuring triangle of 
agreements marks one of Mussolini’s greatest diplo- 
matic successes. 

One matter ruffled Italian foreign affairs in 1928. 
It took the form of a Press campaign against the 
policy of Lord Strickland in Malta. The Italians 
accused him of setting out to destroy “ Malta’s 
spiritual patrimony — its religion and the Italian lan- 
guage,” some of the papers heaping vulgar abuse on 
all British schemes on the island directed towards the 
establishment of schools, the development of the 
Anglican Church and the adjustment of language 
anomalies. The Government Press argued that the 
island’s proxinuty to Italy gave her a special right 
and interest in safeguarding the culture of the Maltese, 


whom they claimed to have ties of blood and language 
with themselves. 

But the real interest of the Government was on 
bigger international issues than the Malta squabble : 
1929 and the beginning of 1930 saw Fascist Italy taking 
an important part at The Hague Conference on the 
Dawes Plan, with its political ramifications touching 
the problems of reparations and war debts, France, 
the Ruhr, and the Locarno guarantees — issues which 
brought Fascist Italy on an equal footing ever closer 
into the deliberation of the Great Powers. Italy’s 
helpful attitude to Austria during The Hague decisions 
on Austria’s reparation debts was followed by a formal 
visit of thanks made by the Austrian chancellor to 

In the same year Italy was invited with France to 
complete the 1929 Washington Naval Accord already 
subscribed to by the United States and Great Britain. 
Italy then produced the formula of “ equality of 
rights and equality of duties ” — and plunged once 
more into negotiations with France for the solution of 
the naval and disarmament question in particular and 
the settlement of the “ totalarity ” of Italo-French 
questions in general. In aU these naval and kindred 
discussions Mussolini maintained that the real solu- 
tion of what was then recognised as part of the whole 
world economic crisis lay in the creation of a feeling 
of mutual trust among nations. 

The disarmament question dominated 1930, and 
the inconclusive discussions and their reactions roused 
Mussolini to declare in a “ Message to the Fascist 
Party ” on October 27, 1930 ; “ Fascist Italy arms 
because everyone arms. It will disarm if everyone 
disarms. . . . Let it be clear that we arm for defence 



and not for attack. Fascist Italy will never take the 
initiative in war. Our actual policy of treaty revision 
is directed towards avoiding war. Revision is not 
only a thing of prevailing Italian interest ; it is of 
Europeanj of world interest. This possibility of revi- 
sion is contained in the Pact of the League of Nations 
itself. Who therefore violates the Pact of the League ? 
Those at Geneva who have created and wish to per- 
petuate two categories of States ; the armed and the 
unarmed.” Mussolini at this time indicated that it 
was “ only towards the East that growing Italy could 
make pacific expansion ” — a sentiment which ex- 
plained Italy’s vital interest in the Danubian States. 
So that when these States were moving towards alli- 
ances and treaties in the play of Great Powers other 
than Italian, aU people concerned were reminded by 
Mussolini : “ We are hard on enemies ; but with 
friends we march to the end.” 

The main cause of firiction was still caused by the 
rubbing of the conflicting policies and interests of 
Italy and France. In February 1931 Mr. Henderson 
as Foreign Minister of the British Labom Government, 
accompanied by the Labour First Lord of the Admir- 
alty and some Foreign Office experts made a special 
visit to Paris and Rome in order to try and resolve at 
least the Franco-Italian naval differences — differences 
which circled round the Italian parity claims, for that 
of course was what Mussolini’s formula of “ willingness 
to disarm at whatever figure so long as not exceeded by 
any other Continental Power ” resolved itself into. 

The main object of the British mission was to obtain 
the adherence of France and Italy to the Three-Power 
Naval Pact signed in 1930 at London by Britain, the 
United States and Japan — an agreement complemen- 

tary to the Washington Treaty. The Rome talks ended 
on February 27 with a dramatic sitting in the British 
Embassy with Mussolini present, when agreement was 
reached with the Duce and a midnight telephone call 
jfrom the Embassy to the Qjiai d’Orsay secured the 
adhesion also of the French Government. But this 
apparently happy conclusion of a major Franco- 
Italian quarrel was doomed to be negatived. Dis- 
illusionment, which we have seen in course of tliis 
history to enter like a spectre at all crucial phases of 
Italo-French relations, once more chilled Italian hopes. 

The Rome agreement was announed in the French 
and Italian Chambers and a reunion was fixed in 
London to elaborate the final text. By the end of the 
first London session the Italian and the British Govern- 
ments were taken aback to learn that France put a 
substantially different interpretation on the basis of 
the agreement reached in Rome. The Italian Gover- 
ment spoke of its “ surprise, delusion and justified 
sense of bitterness.” While stiU hopeful, the Italian 
Government took occasion however to reaffirm its be- 
lief that “ a Germany politically tranquil and econo- 
mically healed ” was an element “ not only useful 
but indeed indispensable for the peace and stability 
of Europe.” 

Seeing the danger of this international drift while 
the world crisis was closing still tighter its grip on the 
moral of aU peoples, Mussolini during the winter of 
1931-1932 opened what may be called a world cam- 
paign. In speeches, by radio broadcast, and in Press 
articles he warned civilisation of the chaos which 
threatened it, and appealed to all responsible nations 
to confront realities in co-operation and common 
sense. At an enormous open-air meeting in Naples on 



October 25, 1931, Mussolini pointed to the problems 
of reparations and war debts, armament inequalities, 
certain clauses of the Peace treaties, and a crippled 
capitalist system as the obstacles to world equilibrium ; 
and he showed that the revision of these things would, 
in the name of justice, be the aim of the Fascist Party 
in the future. He defined the world crisis as not 
merely economic but as above all spiritual and moral. 
And then in the form of three rhetorical questions he 
announced his policy “ with which real peace would 
be served.” 

“ How can we say,” he asked, “ that there is legal 
equality, when on one hand there are nations armed 
to the teeth and on the other there are nations con- 
demned to remain helpless ? 

“ How can one speak of European reconstruction if 
some of the clauses of some of the Peace treaties — 
which have pushed the world on to the brink of 
material disaster and moral desperation — are not 
modified ? 

“ How long will it be before mankind reaHses that 
something has broken down in the modem economic 
machine,” and that its creaking axles must be over-' 
hauled ? 

He announced that the “just answers” to these 
points would be the basis of the Fascist policy. 

In November 1931 Mussolini sent Grandi to Wash- 
ington with a plea for world collaboration and with a 
mandate to discuss world problems “ with the sky as 
the limit.” New Year 1932 he opened with a broad- 
cast nlea for a common confrontation of the crisis, and 
on 1932, as a prelude to the Lausanne 

Reparations Conference, he published in the Popolo 
dl Italia a plea for a radical cancellation of reparations. 


This advocacy of a clean-slate policy in Europe was 
followed the next day by another article appealing 
to the United States to play her part by making a 
“ gesture worthy of civilisation ” by renouncing war 
debts. But this suggested act of renunciation on 
America’s part was to be dependent on the behaviour 
of Europe. “ There is only one way out of this 
statistical situation. It must begin with a betterment 
of feeling among the European States in their reci- 
procal positions of debtors and creditors. With this 
reached, and in face of such an act of goodwill by all 
Europe — which through reciprocal forgiveness showed 
that it had overcome the distinction between the con- 
queror and conquered, the United States would cer- 
tainly not have the courage to insist. America would 
refuse to appear in the history of humanity as the only, 
the unique, the persistent and worldly profiteer of the 
Great War. None of the Americans wish to be likened 
unto Shylock clamouring for his pound of flesh. 
There are also material reasons to close this account 
written in blood. . . . The world has need of the 
United States, but the United States has more than 
ever need of Europe and the world. The alarm-bells 
of reality ring on both shores of the Atlantic.” 

Mussolini having thus made a bid for world leader- 
ship in pohtical thought, his representative at Geneva 
opened his speech at the first plenary meeting of the 
Geneva Disarmament Conference on February lo, 
1932, with the words : “ Our task is to justify justice, 
not to justify force.” By this time Mussolini developed 
a policy which openly considered disarmament, finan- 
cial obhgations and the economic situation as three 
sides of the one problem of world depression. 

The Fascist Grand Council demanded that responsl- 



bility for the disarmament and general world 
impasse should be fixed — the presumption being that 
France was the culprit. The irresolution of the inter- 
national conferences and of Geneva was condemned 
and the demand for world confidence and an ” inter- 
national civic sense ” repeated. 

As a means of fortifying Italy against the general 
economic depression of this period the Ministry of 
Corporations was dovetailed into Foreign Affairs in a 
co-ordinated defence against tariff walls and in an 
active co-operating policy of pushing new commercial 
treaties, extending from Peru to Russia, with special 
interest in the autonomy of the Danubian States. 
Treaties with the Arab States bordering the Red Sea 
were also concluded for the benefit of Italy’s Eritrean 
colonial interests, supplementary to the Italian 1928 
agreement with Abyssinia. 

Speaking at this time in the Chamber, Grandi re- 
opened the Mandates question. He deplored Italy’s 
small part in the general distribution that followed 
the Peace treaties, saying that while Italy invoked 
international justice for everyone else, the Italian 
nation could not exclude herself. He concluded : 
“ Italy intends to assure a better tomorrow for her 
sons.” The rest of 1932 continued with MussoUni 
trying to rouse the world in general and France in 
particular to a “ new mentality,” In July, Air Minis- 
ter Balbo went to Geneva as leader of the Italian Dis- 
armament Conference delegation. His disposition 
could not tolerate the diplomatic protocol methods of 
the League or the Conference’s effort to reduce the 
efficacy of aerial armaments. On his return he pub- 
lished in the Popolo dl Italia an article denouncing the 
behaviour of Great Britain, France and the United 


States at the Conference, virtually accusing these 
countries of poUtical hypocrisy, dishonesty and bad 

By October 1932 a new factor to be reckoned with 
began to loom over Europe — the steady increase of the 
National-Socialist movement under Hitler in Germany. 
Heretofore the expressions of Mussolini’s policy with 
regard to Germany had been accepted as more or less 
academic expositions of political ideals, or possibly as 
a kind of bogey with which to shake France into 
thinking more seriously of Italy’s possible reactions to 
France’s rebuffs. But with Hitler rousing Germany 
into a nation clamouring for rectification of her 
Versailles position the attitude of Mussolini became 
vested with immediate reality. 

It was seen that Mussolini was no opportunist 
champion of Germany, but that he was the leader of 
a self-reliant country which approved of Germany’s 
effort to help herself towards the revision which 
Mussolini had always held to be necessary for Euro- 
pean peace. Did it mean that Fascist Italy would join 
with Fascist Germany and throw down a gaundet to 
France and her Litde Entente allies of Poland, 
Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia ? Mussolini’s belief in 
Peace treaty revision and armament equality rights 
had been too well and too fully acclaimed by Musso- 
lini himself for France to have any illusions concerning 
where combined Italo-Germanic action would or could 

On October 23, 1932, Mussohni spoke on that point 
before an open-air crowd of some one hundred and 
fifty thousand people at Turin. He said : “ In this 
frontier city which has never feared war I hereby 
declare, so that everyone may hear, that Italy’s foreign 



policy is peace — a real peace which cannot be dis- 
associated from justice j a peace which ought to 
restore the equilibrium of Europe ; a kind of peace 
that ought to have its roots in our hearts like hope and 
faith.” There were some who thought, he said, that 
Italy’s disarmament formula was inspired by Machia- 
vellianism. “ There is a simple way of testing it,” he 
added, — “ try it.” As for Germany’s demand for 
juridical parity, he declared that it was fully justified 
and that with safeguards the sooner it was recognised 
the better. 

Declarations such as these gave no assurance to 
France, and tension rather tightened instead of slacken- 
ing. Incidents also began to crop up again between 
Italy and Yugoslavia in Dalmatia. In one anti- 
Italian demonstration the mediaeval Venetian stone 
lion of St. Mark at Trau was defaced. This incident 
was held to symboHse the sum of all insults. The 
Dante Alighieri Society once again leapt into fiery 
resolutions. Counter-demonstrations were staged at 
the French Embassy and at the Yugoslav Legation in 
Rome ; and Mussolini took occasion in the Senate to 
declare that responsibility for the vandalism could be 
traced not only to those elements in Yugoslavia which 
guide the policy of the State with ” a propaganda of 
calunmy and hatred against Italy ” but also “ to other 
elements ” — meaning of course France — always 

Despite these rough edges which hindered the 
smooth running of Mussolini’s ideas for a united trans- 
national effort to resuscitate the world he still persisted 
in the hope of achieving co-operation. 

Meanwhile the rise of Hitler to power in Germany 
and his eventual establishment there in March 1933 


weakened somewhat the negotiating powers of France 
vis-d-vis Italy and per contra strengthened the hand of 
Italy. The reader has only to recollect the record of 
Italy’s successive “ disillusionments ” with France and 
the record of Italian belief in the necessity of a recon- 
structed and rehabilitated Germany to understand the 
position. Franco-Italian-Yugoslav tension had also 
been heightened by actual gun-running incidents and 
by reciprocal accusations of armament traffic in favour 
of the Succession States. Added to this was the moral 
sympathy of a Fascist Italy which saw a great nation 
like Germany avowedly copying the Fascist form of 
Government. Ignoring this opportunity to form an 
anti-French bloc Mussolini devoted himself to pulling 
France, Germany and Europe from pathways that 
lead to war. With the tension created in Paris on 
account of the revival of the Prussian spirit in Ger- 
many he saw his oft repeated formula concerning the 
necessity of treaty revision and juridical equality for 
Germany change almost overnight from a political 
belief to a critical issue. He at once began to use his 
Fascist influence to recall Swastika-excited Germany 
to a sense of responsibility. In an article contributed 
to the Berliner Boersen-Courier, of March 5, 1933, he 
wrote : 

Fascist Italy has declared that the time has come to pass 
from Armistice to Peace. The Armistice has lasted fifteen 
years and, like ^LLl armistices, it confronts us with the 
dilemma, simple but terrible, — either to re-take up arms or 
conclude peace. The fact that many men, whose nerves 
have become unstrung with the crisis, are not horrified at 
the thought of a new war is evidence of the profound dis- 
quietude produced in human hearts by this Armistice 
which has lasted too long. It is thus that hope becoiiies 



desperation. But let it be remembered that a state of mind 
so catastrophic renders those who are at the head of States 
responsible before God, Humanity and History. 

Passing immediately on to a more effective field 
than Press appeals, he drafted his Four Power Pact, 
which he handed to Mr. MacDonald after his arrival 
at the seadrome of Ostia on March i8, 1933. This 
Pact proposing the co-operation of the Four Great 
Western Powers of Europe opened a new chapter 
in the international negotiations for world settle- 

Doubts about readjustment of national interests, 
fears concerning the revision of treaties and of a 
Germany re-armed led to a succession of proposals 
and counter-proposals by the Powers concerned — 
each proposal meaning some variation in the original 
text, with consequent new delays. France had to be 
sure that she was not subscribing to a document which 
would put her in a position to suffer from a possibly 
inimicable majority decision and that the interests of 
her Little Entente Allies would not suffer. Italy had 
to be certEiin that the Germans would not be given 
any chance to prove a cuckoo in the nest. Hitlerite 
Germany feared to compromise by diplomacy that 
which it looked like being able to demand by methods 
more belligerently direct. Britain had to safeguard 
herself against new commitments. 

During this phase of diplomatic exchanges the 
world Press, kept in the dark, obfuscated public 
opinion by guessing wildly on the contents and scope 
of the proposed Pact, speculation ranging from the 
abolition of the Polish Corridor to restoration of 
Tanganyika ! On July 15, however, the Four-Power 


Pact, as amended, as signed by Mussolini and the 
Ambassadors of Great Britain, France and Ger- 

The document consists of a Preamble and six 
articles. The preamble talks of the necessity of con- 
solidating peace and confidence in Europe and recalls 
the obligations of the League, the Locarno Pact, the 
Kellog Peace Pact, and the League Covenant. In 
Artical One the Four Western Powers undertake 
“ effective co-operation ” for keeping the peace. 
Article Two provides for the examination within the 
framework of the League, of Articles lo, i6 and 19 of 
the Covenant. Article Three contains an undertaking 
that the Four Powers will make every effort towards 
assuring the success of the Disarmament Conference ; 
and in Article Four they affirm their desire to consult 
together on economic questions common to Europe. 
Article Five gives the Pact a ten-year duration, with 
provisions for renewal ; and Article Six concerns 
ratification. The import of Articles 10, 16 and 19 
of the League Covenant (exhumed from their twelve 
years’ burial in the archives of Geneva and enshrined 
in the new Pact) is best described in the British 
Foreign Office Despatch sent by Sir John Simon to 
the British Ambassador in Rome on June 7, 1933. 
The reference reads ; 

“ Article 10 emphasises the sanctity of treaties and contains 
an imderstanding to preserve against external aggression 
the territorial integrity of all members of the League. 
Article 19 refers to the possibility of a fresh examination of 
treaties which have become inapplicable, and of inter- 
national conditions whose continuance might endanger the 
peace of the world. It is manifest that Articles 10 and 19 
alike involve the repudiation of interference by viplence^nd 


provide a code by means of which treaty rights should be 
observed and respected, while provision is made in appro- 
priate cases for their peaceful adjustment,” [Article i6 
concerns the coercive measures to be taken by the League of 
Nations in the event of any member-Nation violating the 
Covenant.] Sir John Simon’s Despatch continues ; “ I will 
draw Your Excellency’s attention to the fact that alike in 
respect of Articles lo, i6 and 19, the Agreement (the Four 
Power Pact), while contemplating quadrilateral examination 
in respect of methods and procedure, is expressly stated to 
be without prejudice to decisions which can only be taken 
by the regular organs of the League of Nations.” 

From tills it can be seen that the Pact in its final 
form is one of pious aspirations all carefully chained 
to the already existing machinery of Geneva. 

On the same day as that on which the Pact was 
initialled Mussolini dedicated to it a speech in the 
Senate, emphasising that it was the spirit much more 
than its substance that mattered, the difference be- 
tween the first and final texts being of secondary 
importance. He announced that not only were the 
four great Western nations of Europe now in colla- 
boration, but that the Pact provided for " the idea of 
collaboration with all other States, great and small, 
European and extra-European ; and in particular 
with the United States, without whose valid and prac- 
tical contribution no stable and constructive work for 
the political pacification and economic restoration of 
the world is possible.” He insisted that the Pact was 
directed against no one. 

Mussolini pointed out that, thanks to the Pact, 
Italo-French relations had now entered on a new era 
of settlement and agreement, and that Franco-German 
relations would be transformed. The Pact, he in- 
sisted, was a synthesis of the League of Nations, a 


revival of the spirit of Locarno with the real funda- 
mental aim and object of restoring international con- 
fidence and goodwill. In conclusion he declared that 
the spirit of the Pact put an end to the post-war chapter 
of history and opened another page, and prophesied 
that its terms “ would be greeted with great satisfac- 
tion by the multitudes of all nations who, more distant 
from artifice and nearer to life, feel intuitively the 
moral import of events which may be called historic.” 

The Pact — “ The Pact of Rome ” — was hailed as 
a supreme triumph for peace and for Mussolini as the 
fabricator of that peace. It was claimed that he had 
made Fascist Italy a leader “in a new world-empire 
of thought.” 

The world, however, was not allowed much time to 
contemplate this claim. The persistently aggressive 
behaviour of Hitlerite Germany during the summer 
and autumn of 1933 raised new problems for Europe 
in general and for Fascist Italy in particular. The 
Nazi persecution of the Jews shocked the world. The 
Nazi demonstrations and incidents on the frontiers of 
Denmark, France, Poland and Austria ; and the 
Nazi iucursions into the Saare, Alsace and the Tyrol, 
alarmed Europe. In June 1933, Mussohni, who en- 
joyed the goodwill of Germany for reasons already 
expounded in this book, used his special position to 
call Germany to its senses. But at the same time he 
did not credit all the alarmist reports published abroad. 
In Rome he received the Chief Rabbi of the Italian 
Jews, and in expressing his sympathy with their fellows 
in Germany he promised to use what influence he 
could on their behalf. 

The physical assertion of the Nazi Anschluss policy 
against the will of the Vienna Government, with riots 


and bloodshed during August 1933 at the Innsbruck 
vestibule of the Brenner Pass, brought the danger 
point very near to Italy. Nevertheless, still persuaded 
that she could count on her good relations with 
Germany to check excesses, propaganda and threats, 
Italy in August 1933 stood outside Allied diplomatic 
protests. But as the autumn wore on it became 
apparent that Mussolini, in encouraging a German 
imitation of Fascist forms, saw arise not real Fascism 
but a Frankenstein creation. Hitler had tried to do 
in eleven weeks what had taken Mussolini eleven years. 
It was shown that National-Socialism was not Fascism. 

At one stroke the Nazis appeared to justify France’s 
whole post-war policy, so often condemned by Italy, 
Britain and others. The disarmament question ac- 
quired new values. 

In this sudden whirlpool Mussolini never let go his 
friendship with Germany nor his faith in Germany’s 
eventual retirrn to equilibrium ; but he qualified his 
attitude with open and avowed adhesion to the 
Austria of Dollfuss. In the Heimwehr he beheved he 
saw a guarantee of Austrian independence, but that 
Heimwehr guarantee was only valid under a regime 
j empowered above parliament. Italy in September 
1933 therefore sympathised with the creation of a 
Fascist system of rule in Austria. 

The enemies of Mussolini and of Fascism were quick, 
during the latter months of 1933, to confuse the issue 
by lumping German National-Socialism and Italian 
Fascism under the one title of Fascism, By means of 
this fallacy they sought to condemn Italian Fascism 
by citing German Nazi anti-Jewish atrocities. 

Leaving time to rectify this obvious trick on world 
opinion, Mussolini in September 1933 joined with 


Great Britain and France in fortifying the economic 
position of Austria and the Danubian States. And in 
that month he raised Bolzano to the status of a garrison 
town for the defence of the Brenner. 

Behind these immediate moves stood the Four-Power 
Pact. Mussolini never lost sight of that. As the Fas- 
cist Press has surmised, he is waiting for a lull in the 
swirling emotions of present-day Europe to put that 
collaborative treaty to the test, and to reassert leader- 
ship in the ways of international reason. 

On September 2, 1933, Fascist Italy concluded a 
Pact of Friendship and Non-aggression with Soviet 
Russia. Mussolini in a Press article explained that 
this was to dispel the idea that the Four- Power Pact 
was intended to isolate Russia. He wrote : “ The 
Four-Power Pact eliminates the danger of blocs in 
Western Europe. I am hoping, as far as Italy is 
concerned, that by this Pact with Russia I have been 
able to attain the same result in Eastern Europe and 
Western Asia.” 



The “ Roman Question ” ended. The Lateran Treaties and Concordat, 
Mussolini on Christian Rome. Cavour's Dream Fulfilled. The Rope 
comes out. Savoy. Education Qjiarrel. “ Catholic Action ” Accused. 
Polemics and Deadlock. Terms of Settlement. 

W ITH the way prepared during 1925-1927, the 
Holy See and the Fascist State in 1928 began a 
mild and unofficial flirtation. Overtures for a settle- 
ment of the Roman Question, which had baffled all 
Premiers and Popes since 1870, were quietly opened 
through private channels. Everything was secret. 
Vague rumours escaped only to be firmly denied. 
Success depended on keeping the fingers of the public 
out of the pie. By 1929 Mussolini personally entered 
into the negotiations ; and on February 7, 1929, 
Cardinal Secretary of State Gasparri inforined the 
Diplomatic Corps to the Holy See that agreement had 
been reached and a Concordat drafted. The quarrel 
between the Curia and the House of Savoy was ended. 
On February 1 1 , Capo del Governo Mussolini for Italy and 
Cardinal Gasparri for tthe Holy See signed a Political 
Treaty, a Financial Convention and a Concordat, 
The Political Treaty established the absolute sover- 
eignty of the Pope over that defined area now known 
as the State of the Vatican City, which of course in- 
cludes the Basilica of St. Peter’s. Extra-territoriality 
was also guaranteed to other ecclesiastical buildings 
and palaces in Rome and at Castel Gandolfo, The 


First Article of the Statute (which we last met with 
on page 12) declaring the Catholic Apostolic Ro- 
man Religion the religion of the State, was repeated. 
Other rehgions, instead of being “ tolerated ” now 
became “ admitted.” The Church recognised the 
Kingdom of Italy and the House of Savoy. It also 
acknowledged Rome as the Capital of Italy. This 
reciprocal recognition of absolute and complete 
sovereignty was based on the formal abrogation of the 
Law of Guarantees and the equally formal declaration 
that the “ Roman Question ” was definitely and irre- 
vocably solved^ 

..The Financial Convention liquidated Italy’s debt to 
the Holy See, a debt which represented the self- 
imposed indemnity arising out of the events of 1870. 
The sum amounted to 750,000,000 lire in cash and 
one billion lire worth of Italian Government Stock/ 

4 The Concordat provides facilitations for amicable 
co-operation in the discussion and settlement of all 
relations between the Italian and the Ecclesiastical au- 
thorities. It lays down guiding principles for eventual 
legislation concerning marriage and education. It is 
in a sense the vehicle for arbitration on whatsoever 
points may arise at issue between the signatories.* 

It win be noticed that in writing of the Pohtical 
Treaty and the Financial Convention I have used the 
past tense and I have used the present for the Con- 
cordat. The relative nature of the documents may 
be gauged by that fact. The Treaty and Convention 
have passed into history ; the Concordat is a document 
stiU quick with possibilities — although the Church has 
asserted that the lives of the three documents hang 
together. This assertion was brought out during the 
storm which rose around the whole settlement shortly 

" 273 


after its solemn conclusion at the Lateran Palace on 
the historic February day of 1929. 

The first gale to thrash the smooth waters of the 
Roman settlement came with Mussolini’s first speech 
on the conciliation. He spoke for three hours to the 
Chamber. His speech was an exhaustive survey of the 
history of the Church and Christianity and of their 
combined relations to the history of Rome. But 
Mussolini’s narrative was of the earth earthy. With 
ruthless frankness he expounded his point of view. 
And his point of view was Government’s point of view. 
Among other things he said ; “ Italy has a singular 
privilege of which we are proud, — ^that of being the 
sole European nation which is the seat of a universal 
religion. That religion was bom in Palestine, but it 
became Catholic in Rome. If it had been confined to 
Palestine it would very probably have remained one 
of those many sects which flourished in that ardent 
atmosphere — and very probably it would have burned 
itself out, leaving no trace,” 

From this he continued : “ Christianity found fav- 
ourable surroundings in Rome. It found it above aU 
in the lassitude of the ruling classes and consular 
families which in the time of Augustus had become 
tired, gross and sterile, and it found it in the seething 
anthill of Levantine humanity which distressed the 
social subsoil of Rome — people for whom the Sermon 
on the Mount opened horizons of revolt and revindica- 
tion. Among the precursors of Christianity were 
Virgil and Caesar.” 

This argument of course is neither new nor novel, 
but it was not expected that it would be the topic 
chosen for polemical expansion on that particular occa- 
sion and moment. Rome was sacred, Mussolini went 



on, not only because it was the capital of the Empire 
and the cradle of Catholicism, but “ because it was 
the resting-place of the unknown Soldier,” and because 
“ on the Gampidoglio there is an altar which com- 
memorates the fallen of our Fascist Revolution.” That 
brought him to his great point : “ The Fascist State 
fully revindicates its ethical character : it is Catholic, 
but it is Fascist. It is above all exclusively, essentially 
Fascist. Catholicism integrates it. That we openly 
declare. But let no one think, under specious philo- 
sophy or metaphysics, of changing the cards now laid 
on the table.” 

Mussolini recalled the story of Gavour and the ohve 
branch, and in token of fulfilment of Cavour’s dream 
of the end of Risorgimento strife with peace between 
State and Church, and in accordance with Mussolini’s 
Chamber speech, an olive branch worked in bronze, 
as noted at the end of Chapter II., was placed on 
Cavour’s grave at Santena in Piedmont. A Roman 
oak was planted by the tomb, 

Mussolini’s speech, followed by another one in the 
Senate, was the prelude to an exchange of utterances 
by Pius XI. and Mussolini. Neither side minced 
matters. Conflicting principles on the education of 
youth were already blatantly irreconcilable. It was 
feared that the Lateran Treaty and Concordat would 
not be ratified. However, the storm passed and the 
agreements were duly completed in June 1929. 

A visible popular proof that the Roman Question 
was ended was given by the Pope on July 25, 1929. 
On that day the “ Bronze Doors ” of the Vatican, 
which had remained half-closed since 1870, were 
thrown wide open by the Swiss Guards ; and Pope 
Pius XI., surrounded by the full and picturesque 



glories of the Pontifical Court, passed in processional 
form out of the Vatican, maHng a circuit of St. Peter’s 
Square, blessing the assembled multitude in the open 
air of Rome, and then returning within. The liberty 
of the Pontiffs was thus symbolised. The theory of 
imprisonment in the Vatican passed into history. 

On the part of the House of Savoy, King Victor 
Emmanuel and Queen Elena, accompanied by Foreign 
Minister Grandi, paid a State visit to the Pope on 
December 5, 1929. Quirinal and Vatican met and 
were reconciled. 

But there were stiU storms ahead. Early in 1930 
the inevitable conflict over education broke out afresh. 
It centred round the activities of the “ Catholic 
Action,” an institution which developed lines of 
contact with the youth of Italy through various 
organisations : The Catholic Young Men’s Society, 
the Catholic Yotmg Women’s Society, the Catholic 
Educational Board, the Public Morals Federation, the 
University Students’ Federation. It also organised an 
economic and social association for the adult working 
classes. In connection with these the Catholic Action 
had Cathohc Boy Scouts and clubs. Mussolini 
had already countered the Scout movement with his 
Blackshirt Avanguardisti and Balilla boys’ units. 

« Mussolini had and has his own ideas on the upbring- 
ing of children. To him and to Fascism the State 
comes before the Church in these matters ; and as 
for the family, it is the State and nol; the Church 
which must primarily influence its spirit^ The Pope 
intervened against Mussolini’s plans with a weighty 
Encyclical, and on the Fascist side the oflicial pub- 
lishing house of the Party issued two volumes ; Render 
unto Caesar and The Fascist State ; Church and School, 


which pursued still further the attack against the 
authority of the Church. The Holy Office rose in 
wrath and placed both books on the Index. 

For the Church, education was the key to control. 
For the Fascists, it was the key to existence. 

The discussion between the two irreconcilable 
absolutist conceptions of education continued until 
the summer months of 1931, when it then flared up 
into a serious dispute. In May of that year the 
Fascist trade union paper, II Lavoro Fascista, published 
“ revelations ” alleging that the Catholic Action was 
clandestinely developing a programme hostile to the 
Fascist State. In short, that it was reorganising the 
old pre-Fascist Catholic trade unions, with the idea 
of resuscitating the Popular Party in readiness to as- 
sume the reins of Government. Although the counter- 
revolutionary allegations were not taken seriously, 
there was sufficient in the story to cause violent Fascist 

The Government closed several of the Catholic 
clubs under the aegis of the Catholic Action in Rome, 
and the Prefects were instructed to close Catholic 
clubs in the Provinces. Blackshirt demonstrations 
were held and several acts of aggression against church 
property were committed. By this time the accusa- 
tions against the Catholic Action included the old one 
of undue interference in the education of Itahan youth. 
The Pope demanded that the Italian Government 
should make a formal “ deploration ” for the excesses 
reported, and that it should give assurances “ of future 
good behaviour,” and that it should re-open the clubs 
— aU as preliminaries to discussing the scope of the 
Catholic Action aims and activities. 

The Fascist Government reiected these terms and in 


turn demanded the exercise of the arbitration clause 
of the Concordat for a re-discussion, of the definition of 
clause 43 of the same instrument — the clause which 
defines the scope of the Catholic Action. 

On these issues a deadlock ensued ; and after a hot 
summer of protests, proclamations, propaganda and 
general pother, secret negotiations were begun for 
the resolution of this post- Concordat quarrel. By 
September 1931 terms were agreed upon which 
amounted to this ; (i) the Catholic Action was not to 
mix itself up with politics, and it was to adopt the 
Italian flag ; (2) the Catholic Action was not to 

organise any association of a trade union (syndical) 
nature, but would co-operate with the existing Fascist 
Syndicates ; (3) no person was to be appointed to 
director’s office in the Catholic Action who belonged 
to a Party adverse to Fascism ; and (4) the youths’ 
clubs of the Catholic Action were to change their 
name and character. They were to confine them- 
selves to works of religious and not of physical or 
general education. 

Both sides openly declared themselves contented and 
discussions as to who had “ won ” were discouraged. 

Since 1931 the relations between Church and State 
have continued on the best of terms, special evidence 
of mutual goodwill on the spiritual side and reciprocal 
help on the material side being provided by the co- 
operation exercised for the success of the Extra- 
ordinary Holy Year proclaimed on April i, 1933, in 
commemoration of the Nineteenth Centenary of the 

During 1932, Fascist and Church authorities worked 
together without friction for the advancement of the 
Catholic religion in Italy — the Government at the 
s 78 


same time safeguarding the exercise and interests of 
the other faiths. On September 7, 1933, seven 
thousand Avanguardisti and Balilla Fascists, from Italy 
and from abroad, attended Pontifical Mass in St. 
Peter’s and were thereafter assembled in the Vatican 
to receive the Benediction of Pius XI. 

The Lateran Concordat really amounts to a deal 
in futures. Its present-day cohesion, despite all the 
occasional excursions and alarums which we have 
seen, depends on the personahties of its two architects, 
Benito Mussolini and Achille Ratti, Pius XL 

To Mussolini’s mind, according to my reading of 
ids utterances on the Christian religion in general and 
Roman Catholicism in particular, Christ is not a token 
of the redemption of mankind so much as a symbol 
of the destiny of Rome : Roma Genetrix ; a Lux Mundi 
of the Forums. The Pontifex Maximus is not the in- 
heritor but the trustee of his imperial title, the pre- 
destined perpetuator of the universal idea of Rome — ■ 
Latin Rome. 

“ Christ, by being born, proves to us that the author- 
ity of the Roman Empire was just. Christ, by dying, 
confirmed the jurisdiction of the Roman Empire over 
all mankind.” “ The Roman Emphe was helped by 
miracles, and was therefore willed by God.” “ The 
Romans, in bringing the world into subjection, aimed 
at the good of the State, and therefore at the ends of 
Right.” These words were written by Dante. They 
are quoted from his “ Monarchia” which argues the 
authority of the Empire as against'that of the Church, 
and postulates that the Roman people assumed the 
dignity of Empire by divine destiny and right. Here^ 


are sentiments which might have been written by 
Mussolini today. 

»To Pius XI Fascism is not a doctrine but a guar- 
antee of order against Bolshevism, a God-sent instru- 
ment which stemmed Communist atheism, which 
checked agnosticism in the schools and drove out 
Masonic disbelief in the authority of the Popes* 

•It would be difficult to find a parallel in history 
where two heads of States so profoundly disagreed 
with each other’s essential credos and nevertheless 
managed to frame a Concordat based on different 
beliefs derived from these credos* 

A future Duce who, as a practising Catholic, bows 
to the headship of his Church, or a future Pope who 
has no prepossessions about Bolshevism, will alter the 
course of influences and relations. 

In this respect the future favours the Vatican, not 
necessarily to the diminution of Mussolini’s idea 
of a imiversal Latin Rome, but certainly in matters 
touching education, family life and the exercise of 
the non-Catholic cults. 





Prestige, Fascists in other lands. Facing World Crisis. Financial Situ- 
ation. Industrial Measures. Fascist Grand Council Statute. Election 
System. Fascist Plebiscite. First Blackshirt Parliament. Classic Re- 
invocations. Virgil^ Dante and Caesar reinvoked. Development of the 
“ Universal Idea.'’ Tenth Anniversary Classicism. Augustan Peace. 
First Universal Appeal Committee formed for World Action. 

O N the internal constructive side of the rapidly 
consolidating State, the period from 1927 on- 
wards was identified with a remarkable series of laws 
concerning public health, land reclamation, agricul- 
tural development. Party reforms and Corporate 
State experiments. Measures to safeguard Italian 
finances and commerce against the assaults of world 
depression then moving to its apex were also taken. 
These matters were accompanied by a significant in- 
tensification of archaeological clearances, especially 
in Rome ; by the celebration on an international scale 
of the anniversaries of the statesmen, poets and pro- 
phets of the Imperial era, and by the encouragement 
of international conferences in the Italian capital, 
dealing with everything and anything — a sequence of 
events which pointed to the conscious development of 
the idea of Rome as once more a mover in world 
thought. 'This in turn merged into propaganda for 
the “ universality ” of Fascism.^ All things in every 
department of life, intellectual, practical or theoretical, 
which enhanced the prestige of Rome received un- 



failingly full measure of encouragement and publicity 
from the Government. 

Italians abroad, even if they had changed their 
citizenship, were made to feel that they were part and 
parcel of the Fascist regime in its work of racial renais- 
sance. In supplement to what has been noted in 
Chapter XXV concerning] emigration, it has to be 
noted that latter-day Fascism continues to develop 
the position of overseas Italians on a higher social 
and cultural level. The early organisation of the 
Foreign Fasci was promoted in 1928 to a Department 
of State under the orders of the Ministry for Foreign 
Affairs, and in 1932 a Direzione Generate degli Italiani 
air Estero, was constituted to look after the growing 
complexity of Fascist interests among Italians abroad 
— commercial, cultural, educational, charitable and 
sporting. At the beginning of 1933 there were 680 
Fascist centres abroad in collaboration with the 
Italian diplomatic and consular services. In 1932, 
300,000 children of Italian parents attended Italian 
schools organised by these centres. Throughout the 
world there are forty-two “Houses of Italy” open 
to Italians with the express purpose of lirddng them 
to the fatherland ; and ninety-two chairs and 
lectureships in Italian language and literature have 
been founded abroad to re-awaken foreigners to the 
culture which Italy may offer. 

The steps already taken by the Fascist Government 
for the recovery of its internal financial and economic 
position now proved a sure foundation for special 
fortifications erected to protect Italy from the rising 
attacks of the world economic crisis, whose impinge- 
ments were first felt with special force in 1930. These, 
what may be called pre-crisis measures, can be sum- 


marised as a gradual reduction of taxation, the bal- 
ancing of the State Budget, a revaluation of currency, 
amortisation of the National Debt, plans for the settle- 
ment of the floating debt and the world debts, to- 
gether with groups of commercial laws affecting 
internal production. Thanks to these measures the 
State Budget balance, which [vide page 190) secured 
its first surplus of 417.2 million lire in 1925, rose 
to a surplus of 555.1 million lire in 1928-1929. Then 
the curve came downwards, the following year showing 
a drop to 170.3 million lire surplus, and a deficit of 
504 million lire for 1930-1931. Since this the annual 
Budget has continued to move downwards on the 
deficit side of the line. The 1932-1933 deficit approx- 
imated 4,000 million lire. The 1933-1934 deficit is 
estimated at 3,088 million. The Report of the Budget 
Committee of the Chamber on the 1933-1934 Finance 
Bill stated : “ In several sectors of our economy the 
downward trend has been checked and we note a 
tendency to improve, while the behaviour of the lira 
on the world markets confirms the adequacy of our 
reserves of all kinds. We conclude our task with the 
positive conviction that, as far as Italy is concerned, 
the bottom of the depression has been touched and 
has now been passed.” 

The gravity of the depression with its reactions on 
national finance was confronted by Finance Minister 
Jung in his Budget Speech delivered in May 1933. He 
advanced the following figures : the receipts for the 
current financial year, he said, would fall short of 
estimates by 773 million lire, of which 565 million 
were due to reduced receipts from the Customs’ duty 
on wheat, a loss to the revenue but a gain to the bal- 
ance of payments ; expenses would exceed estimates by 



1,820 million lire, of which. 833 million were accounted 
for by interest on the debt, 650 million by the railway 
deficit, 278 million by the assistance to agriculture and 
industry demanded by crisis conditions, and 100 
million by supplementary budget appropriations. 

In presenting this data and in amiouncing the Bud- 
get deficit. Signor Jmig went on to say : 

I fully realise what it will cost to wipe out this deficit, I 
bear in mind the demands it will entail, and they cause me 
no undue anxiety because : (i) the settlement of arrears is 
duly provided for — the increase of 1,350 million lire in this 
item appearing in the accounts for 1931-32 being due only 
to the fact that credits of 1,250 million lire for public works 
in relief of unemployment and of over too million for the 
Genoa-SerravaUe autostrada, were entered just at the close 
of that financial year ; (a) the floating debt, which on 30th 
April stood at 8,389 million lire, no longer consists of those 
Treasury bills which afford so sound a means of meeting 
temporary needs but so dangerous a one when used to meet 
longer dated liabilities. We made the experiment once, we 
paid the price, we shall never make it again. The sources 
to which recourse is now made entail no such danger ; (3) 
the Treasury cash balance with the Bank of Italy stood at 
1,81 1 million lire on 20th May, 1933 ; (4) above all the 
budget of international payments balances with a favourable 
margin, as is shown by the fact that notwithstanding the 
insolvency of many foreign purchasers of Italian exports and 
the obstacles hindering the transfer of values, the Central 
Bank’s reserves have remained constant throughout the 
current financial year. 

The Minister then pointed out that the Government 
had cut down the expenditure on defence services by 
578 milhon lire. In stating that the future could be 
faced with confidence he said that the key to Italy’s 
financial policies was to be found “ in the nation’s un- 


bounded confidence in its Government, — a confidence 
which will not be used to monopolise savings but to 
safeguard and direct them towards those forms of in- 
vestment which best serve national interests.” 

In condemning aU speculative activities, banking 
and otherwise, he asserted that the country’s new sav- 
ings, if wisely used, were adequate to meet both the 
needs of the national budget and other needs conse- 
quent on the settlement and readjustment of sectors of 
economic activity in which the Government inter- 
vened, not to support given industries or banks, but to 
protect national interests at stake, the assistance being 
given exclusively, he noted, out of new savings and 
never out of the currency. 

On monetary policies the Minister reported that, 
with a gold cover to the note circulation standing at 
50.76 per cent., and at 49.04 per cent, to all sight 
liabilities, the technical bases for ensuring a sound 
currency were provided. “ The will of the Duce that 
the currency must be and must remain sound was 
being carried out to the letter.” 

Talking of Mussohni’s determination to maintain a 
sound currency — (the policy first voiced in the Pesaro 
speech of 1926 noted on page 229) — the Finance 
Minister said : 

I had the honour of stating this to the President of the 
United States when he enquired of me into Italy’s attitude 
on two of the questions the United States deem of pre- 
eminent importance for the World Economic Conference — 
monetary stabilisation and the return of all currencies to a 
common standard which the United States cannot conceive 
of as other than gold, I replied that Italy had no need to 
stabilise, as she had already stabihsed on 21st December 
1927, and had maintained, and intended to maintain, that 



stabilisation unaltered ; and that Italy had no need to 
return to a gold parity because in 1927 she had placed her 
currency on a gold basis. I added that whatever other 
countries might do, Italy would not deviate from the policies 
laid down by the Duce, and that instead of considering 
recourse to empirical and ultimately ineffectual means for 
adjusting internal to world prices, she would continue to 
make use of an instrument thoroughly tested out during the 
past ten years, namely, her Syndical and Corporative 

This citation reflects the attitude actually main- 
tained by Italy durmg the 1933 World Economic 
Conference in London. 

Confirming the results secured by Fascist policies 
in maintaining price parities, Minister Jung gave the 
House some index numbers comparing the variations 
in prices of agricultural products in Italy with those 
given by the Statistical Abstract of the United States 
for the same products in America. On the basis 
100 = 1913, the index number for wheat, expressed in 
pre-war lire, stood in 1932 at 104 in Italy, against 
54 to 56 in the United States, for maize at 106 against 
50 to 49, for potatoes at 122 against 80, for hogs at 76 
against 48.8, figures which show, he said, that in Italy 
timely steps had been taken to avoid undue disparities 
between agricultural and other prices. 

The trade balance deficit was reduced to less than 
1,500 million lire on a total turnover of 21,000 million 
for 1931, and 150,000 million for 1932. From the 
beginning of the world crisis until May 31, 1933, the 
internal National Debt increased from 86,446 million 
to 96,811 million lire. Despite that situation public 
confidence in the stability and strength of the Govern- 
ment not only remained firm, but increased to heights 


which may be called unprecedented in the history of 
Italian internal finances. The evidence of this feeling 
was particularly prominent during the Government’s 
investment policy of 1932, when 4000 million lire issue 
of Treasury Bonds were over-subscribed by millions of 
lire a few hours after they were available to the 
pubHc. Eighty per cent of these milhons subscribed 
came from the small investor. The same condition 
was noticeable in Government-backed development 
schemes — the project for the electrification of Italian 
railways, which was put on the market in July 1933, 
being likewise over-subscribed at once by the small 
investor, who no longer looked to speculation on the 
foreign market. 

Measures were taken for the purpose of support- 
ing the industrial situation and of preparing Italy to 
compete on the world’s markets as soon as depression 
lifted. The principal step was the creation in January 
1933 of ^ State-backed institution “ to give more 
practical and vigorous help towards the technical, 
economic, and financial reorganisation of industrial 
concerns hard hit but not overthrown by the crisis, so 
that these concerns may be in better efficiency at the 
moment of the economic revival.” This new organisa- 
tion was called the Institute for Industrial Recon- 

The method to be followed by this Reconstruction 
Institute was to bring indirect State aid to essential 
and contributory-essential industries, and to “ demob- 
ilise ” non-paying concerns so that, through liquid- 
ation, money and energy could be freed for produc- 
tive channels. For these purposes the Reconstruction 
Institute was planned to operate in two sections : In- 
dustrial Financing, andlndustrialDemobihsation, The 



/With Party organisation revised and overhauled, 
with peace concluded with the Church, and with the 
popularity of the Fascist Parly recovered, the Govern- 
ment prepared for new elections. For this purpose a 
revolutionary change was carried out. The old terri- 
torial constituencies were wholly eliminated and all 
Italy was considered as one constituency. Candi- 
dates no longer represented interests identified with 
the life of specific districts, but instead represented 
some aspect of national interest irrespective of locality. 
They were no longer nominated by party election 
committees throughout the provinces. The following 
election machinery, which still operates the Fascist 
suffrage system, was put into motion instead. The 
nomination of candidates was placed in the hands of 
the national trade-union Confederations of the Cor- 
porative organisations. These Confederations repre- 
sented — and represent — the total productive elements 
of Italy. These Confederations nominate 800 candi- 
dates. To that list is added a number of representa- 
tives of public welfare and other institutions, all of a 
national character, such as the Dante Alighieri Society. 
This fist of candidates is submitted to the Grand 
Fascist Council. The Grand Fascist Council draws 
up the Government list from these names, reducing 
the 800 to 400. This list of 400 is presented to the 
electors to be accepted or rejected as one block. If 
rejected, then the Grand Fascist Council supplies an- 
other list of 400 names and so on until the electorate 
finally chooses its group of 400. There are no other 
rival candidates, either singly or in blocks, allowed in 
the Fascist field .> 

Having decided to go to the polls, the Fascist elec- 
toral campaign, from Syracuse to the Brenner, reached 



its climax during March 1929. The essentially revolu- 
tionary character of the campaign was patent to the 
people by the absence of any opposition activities and 
the consequent complete absence of that hustings’ 
oratory which under previous regimes had lent such 
fire to election campaigns — a fire which, however, had 
proved a consuming one for the old parliamentary 

As for the Fascist list, Mussolini pointed out to the 
people that it was not men but ideas that were being 
elected. One sign of the new conditions following 
the conclusion of the Concordat with the Vatican 
was the participation of the Church in the electoral 
campaign. Not only did Church dignitaries appear 
on Fascist platforms, but in the parishes the clergy 
organised the Catholic vote as a solid one for Fascism. 

March 24, 1929, was polling day and the public was 
much interested to discover what method the Fascists 
had devised for recording votes. Each elector, after 
identification at his polling station, was handed two 
forms externally identical when folded. Inside, one 
was marked with the tricolour and the formula, “ Do 
you approve of the deputies designated by the Grand 
Fascist Council ? ” with underneath the printed word 
“Yes.” The other form was provided with the same 
question, but printed with the word “ No.” The 
electors passed one by one into an enclosed booth 
where they made their selection, folding and gumming 
the form chosen. Leaving the rejected one in an urn 
in the booth, the electors emerged and handed the 
sealed form to an official, who placed it in an um on 
a polling-booth table. 

The results, pubhshed on March 31, 1929, exceeded 
even Fascist expectations. The electors on the roll 



Financing Section was operated by a committee nom- 
inated by the Finance Minister and by the Minister of 
Corporations. The capital granted to this section was 
not very ranch — loo million lire. This sum was sub- 
scribed by designated savings banks and national in- 
surance institutions. Not only was financial help given 
to industries in need, but State guarantees were also 
given in cases where the maintenance of the industry 
was of exceptional public interest. This latter point 
was a safeguard, for instance, against increasing un- 

The second section, for liquidating industries un- 
profitable to themselves or to the community, was 
granted an annual subvention for twenty years of 
85,000,000 lire, provided by the Public Works Credit 

Italian observers noted with satisfaction that this 
new advance of State intervention at moments of crisis 
was based on a financial system which avoided in- 
flation, open or covert. 

Throughout all the buffets of the crisis, even with 
the dollar and sterling performing fantastic evolutions, 
the Italian hra on October i, 1933, remained fixed 
and unshaken, and the gold standard unbroken. 

The internal monies available were from 1928 
mainly devoted to public w'orks. In order not to 
burden this narrative with a mere chronological cata- 
logue of accomplishments and dates in the varied 
fields of activity above indicated, I have reserved a 
description of public works for the section dealing 
with Fascism in Being, which shows the position as 
at the present time. 

In order to give sequence to the story of the gradual 
development of the Corporate State from the theore- 


tical to the practical stage, we must not here omit to 
record the revolutionary reform carried out in the 
Italian parliamentary system. The Brst stage towards 
this change was the completion of a “ New Statute of 
the National Fascist Party ” in October 1929. This 
Statute defined the Party as “ A Civil Mifitia at the 
service of the nation with the object of realising the 
greatness of the Italian people.” It further stated 
“ Fascism is not merely a groupmg together of Italians 
round a set programme realised and to be realised, 
but it is above all a confession of faith. Unhindered 
by dogmatic formahties and rigid schemes, Fascism 
feels that authority lies in the possibility of its own 
continual renovation.” The Statute provides for the 
creation of “ a hierarchy” as a definite part. of the 
F ascist Constitution. The Statute defines its hierarchic 
principle as one “ without which no people can have 
the discipline of strength and education, getting in- 
spiration from the top, where there is a complete 
vision of all the attributes which contribute to the 
interests of general order.” The Statute then lays 
down the “ watchwords ” of the Party as once more 
“ Faith, Courage, Industry ” — to which in this case 
was added “ Honesty.” 

The Fascist Grand Council thus became automati- 
cally a body representing the “ hierarchy of govern- 
ment.” It was assumed into the fabric of the State as 
a supreme deliberative body. It enjoyed an exercise 
of influence over Parliament which resolved Parlia- 
ment into being the executant of the Fascist Council’s 
deliberations. This Statute was revised in November 
1932 and the size of the Council was reduced, but its 
character and functions remained and remain unim- 

T s8g 


were 9,673,049. Of these 8,663,412 voted— 8,519,559 
favourably for the Fascist list. There were 135,761 
contrary votes and 8092 spoiled papers. While there 
is no doubt of the completeness of the Fascist organ- 
isation to ensure the success of the elections in their 
favour, it was obvious that the country was with 
Mussolini, and that it had expressed its confidence in 
his regime with a vote which can only be likened to 
a national plebiscite. 

On April 20, the Twenty-Eighth Italian Legislature 
since the foundation of the Kingdom, and the first 
under the new Fascist system, was opened in solemn 
state by King Victor Emmanuel. As the Fascist State 
grew in stature so did Mussolini’s energies increase. 
In the spring of 1929 he held the following Ministerial 
portfolios : Foreign, War, Colonial, Navy, Air, Public 
Works, and Interior. These of course were in addition 
to his labours as Prime Minister and Duce of the 
Fascist Party. All this, however, did not mean that 
he took on superhuman burdens, but that he assumed 
personal responsibility, while exercising surveillance 
over the activities of the respective Ministries. The 
above was his record number of portfolios. On 
September 12, 1929, he relinquished aU the Depart- 
mental Ministries save that of the Interior. Since then 
he has reassumed Foreign Affairs and is also Minister 
of Corporations. The opening of the new parliament 
on April 20, 1929, marks the completion of the pre- 
liminary machinery of the Fascist State and the total 
control of the Fascist Party over the entire fiinction- 
iug of Italian parliamentary and national life. It 
therefore marks the completion of this chronicle as 
far as accession to power and completion of the means 
for exercising power are concerned. 



When these aims had been reached, however, 
Fascism was not content to rest upon mere parhamen- 
tary victories. Contemporaneously with the perfec- 
tioning of power, the Fascists had been concentrat- 
ing on Classic remembrance, turning their eyes to 
the distant past as a source of inspiration for the 
future. There began to rise over the Fascist hori- 
zon the idea of a practical renaissance of Imperial 

The bi-millenary of Virgil in 1927 was a notable 
starting-point for concentration on this Roman line 
of thought. At Mantua, by the Virgilian grove, the 
ex-Service Volunteers of the Great War voted a “ Pro- 
fession of Faith in the Universality of Fascist Rome.” 
This reads : 

(1) We believe in the universal mission of Rome for the 
salvation and greatness of human civilisation. 

(2) We believe in the fatality and in the pre-fixed return 
of the Roman Empire exalted by Virgil, prophesied by 

(3) We believe in the sublime law of sacrifice and heroism 
affirmed in the legendary birth of Rome and repeated 
throughout all time — the law which Virgil exalts in the fateful 
mission of Aeneas. 

(4) We believe in Roman virtue — the supreme virtue of 
our kind — which is order, discipline, harmony in work, in 
justice and in social peace. 

(5) We believe in the Duce of Fascism — ^who has restored 
to us our Roman peace in justice, discipline and work, and 
has reawaJkened the soul of our race to the eternal ideals — 
as the realiser of the immense Destiny of Rome where the 
two sovereign powers, civil and religious, must exist for the 
welfare of the world in universal action. 

(6) For this faith we are ready to fight again, suffer again, 
and to die if need be, and we invite all Italians to follow us. 



♦ This classical spirit with its universal appeal was 
encouraged by a series of international congresses in 
Rome of which the most important and illuminating 
was the Volta Congress held in November 1932, 
when the importance and the influence of Rome as 
a binding factor in European unity was emphasised 
in a long series of discourses by ex-statesmen of all 

We have seen in earlier chapters how Fascist Italy 
grew to be a World Power in the comity of nations with 
increasing influence in the practical affairs of inter- 
national politics, but in this phase of exalting the 
classical-universal spirit of the new Italy, Mussolini 
was making his definite start towards assuming leader- 
ship in world thought on the political philosophy of 
government — a philosophy which for “ universal ” 
purposes became more and more associated with the 
eagles and institutions of Imperial Rome. Passages 
from speeches by Mussolini indicate the train and 
direction of his thought. On October 23, 1932, at 
Turin, speaking at a great open-air meeting, he said : 
“ Today with full tranquillity of conscience I say unto 
you that the Twentieth Century will be the Century 
of Fascism, it will be the Century of Italian potency ; 
it will be the Century during which Italy will return 
for the third time to be the director of human civilisa- 
tion, because outside of our principles there is no 
salvation for individuals, and far less for nations.” 
This utterance is typical of many others. 

'This reinvocation of the classical ideal and the 
identification of that ideal with Fascism as a universal 
panacea rose to its fullest heights in October 1932 
during the celebration for the completion of the first 
ten years of the Fascist regime — the Decennale. The 



“ greatness of Rome,” not only in spiritual but in a 
material sense, was then brought out by the completion 
of the Imperial Way which reawakened the fragments 
of the Forum to the current life of the City. The 
Decennale celebrations were opened in the Augusteo 
Hall in Rome — the Tomb of Augustus. They 
were closed at Ravenna, by the Tomb of Dante. As 
recalled in the opening chapter of this history, the 
occasion was marked by the declamation of those three 
great Cantos which sing of the beauty, tire agony and 
the destiny of Italy and Rome. Contemporaneously 
a replica of the classic statue of Julius Caesar was 
erected at Rimini at the spot where tradition says that 
the first Dictator addressed his Legions after crossing 
the Rubicon for his March on Rome. Every news- 
paper in Italy received instructions that these cele- 
brations, with illustrated and descriptive articles on 
their significance to the Italian race, were to be the 
principal and leading feature on every “ front page ” 
of the entire Press of the peninsula. 

Whatever we may think of it, the profound effect of 
such propaganda cannot be overestimated. Musso- 
Uni enlists Northcliffean methods for direct, Fascist 

In course of this history we have seen Blackshirt 
conceptions of Rome emerge as 

(1) The capital of Italy. 

(2) The protector of the Church. 

(3) The Imperial capital of Europe, and 

(4) The source of world thought. 

Archaeology has not been the least important of the 
means employed to further these ideas. Archaeolo- 
gical programmes of work with a psychological side to 



them were prepared in May 1933 for the bi-millenary 
of the Emperor Augustus. This celebration has been 
fixed for 1937-1938. The greatest feature of the 
programme is to be the recovery of the Ara Pacis of 
Augustus. This intention can be accepted as indicat- 
ing the political ideals of Mussolini. The Altar of the 
Augustan Peace was the expression of the greatness 
and completeness of the dominion of Roman thought 
and action over the civilised world. The recovery of 
these scattered fragments and their re-erection in 
Rome is calculated to remind the modern world of 
Rome’s aspiration to recover, in the abstract realm 
of Fascist poUtico-philosophical thought, her ancient 

The latest example of propaganda for the univer- 
sality of Rome was the institution in July 1933 of a 
“ Central Council of a Committee of Action for the 
Universality of Rome,” The chairman of this council 
at its first meeting in the Campidoglio was the Gover- 
nor of Rome and the meeting was held under Govern- 
ment patronage. According to a resolution passed at 
this meeting, the Council of Action proposed that it 
would “ revive the spirit of ancient Rome and utilise 
that spirit as a common denominator of equality for 
all the countries which Rome considered, also in the 
time of the Empire, to be free and independent al- 
though within the orbit and organisation of Roman 
civilisation.” Tliis resolution continued : “ Quite 
apart from all political contingencies it would seem 
that the time has arrived to lay down the basis of a 
fruitfiol and continuous accord among all those who, 
without altering the traditions and characteristics and 
necessities of their respective nations, are disposed to 
recognise in the ancient and present universality of 


Rome the means of these spiritual alliances which 
could give to the world, still in agony and dis- 
cord, its political restoration and its civil and social 

■The character of this resolution reveals the next 
step in the progress of Fascism— a step calculated to 
lift it from World Power to World Influence. But as 
that lies with the future, my chronicle here ends. 




“We are not bound by any statute of 
preceding Parliaments, but by the law of 
Nature only, which is the only law truly 
and properly to all mankind fundamental.” 



The Abstract Idea. System of Thought. Mussolini’s Exposition of 
Fundamentals. His jg Points : Philosopkic, Spiritualistic, Positive, 
Ethical, Religious, Historical, Anti-Individualist, Corporative, Demo- 
cracy, the State, Dynamic, Role of the State, Discipline. 

H aving followed the growth of Fascism through all 
the weathers of political conflict let us now pass 
into the undisturbed and rarefied atmosphere of 
abstract thought. We have seen how “ thought and 
action ” have gone hand in hand from the very be- 
ginnings of the Fascist conception, even if on occasion 
thought has had to mark time while action pushed 
forward alone to clear the way of encumbrances for 
the eventual further advance of political ideas. In the 
march of events the reader must have already noted 
the steady emergence of the truism that Fascism 
“ besides being a system of Government is also a 
system of thought.” 

At the same time the reader may have observed that, 
while a system of thought„Fascism has been harnessed 
to no pre-stated doctrine. In his earliest Anarchist 
days and in his later Socialist days we have seen 
MussoHni discarding the doctrines of these political 
systems in his eager search after thought — “ a revolu- 
tionary questing for a creed.” And through the clash 
of these first conflicts, through the cataclysm of the 
war, through the depths and shallows and cross- 
currents of the post-war decade we have seen that new 



creed pass from liquefied and malleable beginnings 
into a tempered axe-blade rigid in the lictor’s rods, 

Mussolini had been so occupied with the task of 
direct action, so near to the heat of the forge, that it 
was only in 1932 that he paused to reduce his political 
formulas into doctrinal form — a doctrine whose every 
tenet has its reference point and proof in the utter- 
ances and actions of Mussolini during the past thirty 

It was as a contribution to the great work now 
being steadily pushed to conclusion, the Enciclopedia 
Italiana^ that Mussolini officially expounded the doc- 
trine of Fascism. 

As it is my intention to devote the following pages 
to an examination of the spirit, idea and ideals of 
Fascism as a politico-philosophy and social cult it is 
necessary to pay close attention to its declared doc- 
trine. But it would be foolish and presumptuous to 
attempt any personal exposition when the author, 
inspirer and fabricator of the Fascist doctrine has him- 
self made an authoritative and final analysis. Let us 
therefore go direct to the fount. Through tlie kindness 
of Signor Mussolini and with the permission of the 
Enciclopedia authorities, I am able to reproduce here 
the thirteen paragraphs which encompass the funda- 
mental novelties of Fascism as described by its founder 
and leader : 

Fundamental Ideas 
Philosophic Conception. 

1. 1- Like every concrete political conception, Fascism is 
thought and action. It is action with an inherent doctrine 
which, arising out of a given system of historic forces, is in- 
serted in it and works on it ftom within. It has therefore a 



form co-related to the contingencies of time and place ; but 
it has at the same time an ideal content which elevates it 
into a formula of truth in the higher region of the history of 

There is no way of exercising a spiritual influence on the 
things of the world by means of a human will-power com- 
manding the wills of others, -without first having a clear con- 
ception of the particular and transient reality on which the 
-will-power must act, and without also having a clear con- 
ception of the universal and permanent reality in which the 
particular and transient reality has its life and being. To 
know men we must have a knowledge of man ; and to have 
a knowledge of man we must know the reality of things and 
their laws. 

There can be no conception of a State which is not funda- 
mentally a conception of Life. It is a philosophy or intuition, 
a system of ideas which evolves itself into a system of logical 
construction, or which concentrates itself in a vision or in 
a faith, hut which is always, at least -virtually, an organic 
conception of the world. 

Spiritualised Conception. 

2. Fascism would therefore not be understood in many of 
its manifestations (as, for example, in its organisations of the 
Party, its system of education, its discipline) were it not con- 
sidered in the light of its general -view of life. A spiritualised 

To Fascism the world is not this material world which 
appears on the surface, in which man is an indi-vidual 
separated from all other men, standing by himself and sub- 
ject to a natural law which instinctively impels him to lead 
a life of momentary and egoistic pleasure. In Fascism man 
is an indi-vidual who is the nation and the country. He is 
this by a moral law which embraces and binds together 
individuals and generations in an established tradition and 
mission, a moral law which suppresses the instinct to lead 
a life confined to a brief cycle of pleasure in order, instead, 
to replace it within the orbit of duty in a superior conception 



of life, free from the limits of time and space ; a life in 
which the individual by self-abnegation and by the sac- 
rifice of his particular interests, even by death, realises 
the entirely spiritual existence in which his value as a man 

Positive Conception of Life as a Struggle. 

3. It is therefore a spiritualised conception, itself also a 
result of the general reaction of the Century against the 
languid and materialistic positivism of the Eighteenth Cen- 
tury, Anti-positivist, but positive : neither sceptical nor 
agnostic, neither pessimistic nor passively optimistic, as are 
in general the doctrines (all of them negative) which place 
the centre of life outside of man, who by his free will can 
and should create his own world for himself. 

Fascism wants a man to be active and to be absorbed in 
action with all his energies : it wants him to have a manly 
consciousness of the difficulties that exist and to be ready 
to face them. It conceives life as a struggle, thinking that 
it is the duty of man to conquer that life which is really 
worthy of him : creating in the first place within himself 
the (physical, moral, intellectual) instrument with which to 
build it. 

As for the individual, so for the nation, so for mankind. 
Hence the high value of culture in all its forms (art, religion, 
science) and the supreme importance of education. Hence 
also the essential value of labour, with which man conquers 
nature and creates the human world (economic, political, 
moral, intellectual). 

Ethical Conception. 

4. This positive conception of life is evidently an ethical 
conception. And it comprises the whole reality as well as 
the human activity which domineers it. No action is to be 
removed from the moral sense ; nothing is to be in the world 
that is divested of the importance which belongs to it in 
respect of moral aims. Life, therefore, as the Fascist con- 
ceives it, is serious, austere, religious ; entirely balanced in 


a world sustained by the moral and responsible forces of the 
spirit. The Fascist disdains the “ easy ” life. 

Religious Conception. 

5. Fascism is a religious conception in which man is con- 
sidered to be in the powerful grip of a superior law, with an 
objective Will which transcends the particular individual and 
elevates him into a fully conscious member of a spiritual 
society. Anyone who has stopped short at the mere con- 
sideration of opportunism in the religious policy of the 
Fascist regime, has failed to understand that Fascism, be- 
sides being a system of government, is also a system of 

Historical and Realist Conception. 

6. Fascism is an historic conception in which man could 
not be what he is without being a factor in the spiritual 
process to which he contributes, either in the family sphere 
or in the social sphere, in the nation or in history in general 
to which all nations contribute. Hence is derived the great 
importance of tradition in tlie records, language, customs 
and rules of human society. Man without a part in history 
is nothing. 

For this reason Fascism is opposed to aU the abstractions 
of an individualistic character based upon materialism 
typical of the Eighteenth Century ; and it is opposed to all 
the Jacobin innovations and utopias. It does not believe in 
the possibility of" happiness ” on earth as conceived by the 
literature of the economists of the Seventeenth Century ; it 
therefore spurns aU the teleological conceptions of final 
causes through which, at a given period of history, a final 
systematisation of the human race would take place. Such 
theories only mean placing oneself outside real history and 
life, which is a continual ebb and flow and process of realisa- 

Politically speaking, Fascism aims at being a realistic 
doctrine ; in its practice it aspires to solve only the problems 
which present themselves of Aeir own accord in the process 

« 305 


of history, and which of themselves find or suggest their own 
solution. To have the effect of action among men, it is 
necessary to enter into the process of reality and to master 
the forces actually at work. 

The Individual and Liberty. 

7. Anti-individualistic, the Fascist conception is for the 
State ; it is for the individual only in so far as he coincides 
with the State, universal consciousness and will of man in 
his historic existence. It is opposed to the classic Liberalism 
which arose out of the need of reaction against absolutism, 
and which had accomplished its mission in history when the 
State itself had become transformed in the popular will and 

Liberalism denied the State in the interests of the par- 
ticular individual ; Fascism reaffirms the State as the only 
true expression of the individual. 

And if liberty is to be the attribute of the real man, and 
not of the scarecrow invented by individualistic Liberalism, 
tlien Fascism is for liberty. It is for the only kind of liberty 
that is serious — the liberty of the State and of the individual 
in the State. Because, for the Fascist, all is comprised in the 
State and nothing spiritual or human exists — much less has 
any value — outside the State. In this respect Fascism is a 
totalising concept, and the Fascist State — the unification and 
synthesis of every value — interprets, develops and potentiates 
the whole life of the people. 

Conception of a Corporative State. 

8. No individuals nor groups (political parties, associa- 
tions, labour unions, classes) outside the State. For this 
reason Fascism is opposed to Socialism, which clings rigidly 
to class war in the historic evolution and ignores the unity 
of the State which moulds the classes into a single, moral 
and economic reality. In the same way Fascism is opposed 
to the unions of the labouring classes. But within the orbit 
of the State with ordinative functions, the real needs, which 
gave rise to the Socialist movement and to the forming of 


labour unions, are emphatically recognised by Fascism and 
are given their full expression in the Corporative System, 
which conciliates every interest in the unity of the State. 


9. Individuals form classes according to categories of 
interests. They are associated according to differentiated 
economical acitivities which have a common interest ; but 
first and foremost they form the State. The State is not 
merely either the numbers or the sum of individuals forming 
the majority of a people. Fascism for this reason is opposed 
to the democracy which identifies peoples with the greatest 
number of individuals and reduces them to a majority level. 
But if people are conceived, as they should be, qualitatively 
and not quantitatively, then Fascism is democracy in its 
purest form. The qualitative conception is the most coherent 
and truest form and is therefore the most moral, because it 
sees a people realised in the consciousness and will of the 
few or even of one only ; an ideal which moves to its realisa- 
tion in the consciousness and will of all. By “ all ” is meant 
all who derive their justification as a nation, ethnically 
speaking, from their nature and history, and who follow the 
same fine of spiritual formation and development as one 
single will and consciousness — not as a race nor as a 
geographically determinated region, but as a progeny 
that is rather the outcome of a history which perpetuates 
itself; a multitude unified by an idea embodied in the 
will to have power and to exist, conscious of itself and of its 

Conception of the State. 

10. This higher personality is truly the nation, inasmuch 
as it is the State. The nation does not beget the State, 
according to the decrepit nationalistic concept which was 
used as a basis for the publicists of the national States in the 
Nineteenth Century. On the contrary, the nation is created 
by the State, which gives the people, conscious of their own 
moral unity, the will, and thereby an efiective existence. 



The right of a nation to its independence is derived not from 
a literary and ideal consciousness of its own existence, much 
less from a de facio situation more or less inert and uncon- 
scious, but from an active consciousness, from an active 
political will disposed to demonstrate in its right ; that is 
to say, a kind of State already in its pride [in fieri) . The 
State, in fact, as a universal ethical will, is the creator of 

Dynamic Reality. 

11. The nation as a State is an ethical reality which exists 
and lives in measure as it develops. A standstill is its death. 
Therefore the State is not only the authority which governs 
and which gives the forms of law and the worth of the 
spiritual life to the individual wills, but it is also the power 
which gives effect to its will in foreign matters, causing it 
to be recognised and respected by demonstrating through 
facts the universality of all the manifestations necessary for 
its development. Hence it is organisation as well as expan- 
sion, and it may be thereby considered, at least virtually, 
equal to the very nature of the human will, which in its 
evolution recognises no barriers, and which realises itself by 
proving its infinity. 

The R61e of the State. 

12 . The Fascist State, the highest and the most powerful 
form of personality, is a force, but a spiritual one. It re- 
assumes aU the forms of the moral and intellectual life of man. 
It caimot, therefore, be limited to a simple function of order 
and of safeguarding, as was contended by Liberalism. It is 
not a simple mechanism which limits the sphere of the pre- 
sumed individual liberties. It is an internal form and rule, 
a discipline of the entire person ; it penetrates the will as 
well as the intelligence. Its principle, a central inspiration 
of the living human personality in the civil community, 
descends into the depths and settles in the heart of the man 
of action as well as of the thinker, of the artist as well as of 
the scientist ; the soul of our soul. 


Discipline and Authority. 

13. Fascism, in short, is not only a lawgiver and the 
founder of institutions, but an educator and a promoter of 
the spiritual life. It aims to rebuild not the forms of human 
life, but its content, the man, the character, the faith. And 
for this end it exacts discipline and an authority which de- 
scends into and dominates the interior of the spirit without 
opposition. Its emblem, therefore, is the lictorian fasces, 
symbol of unity, of force and of justice. 




Mussolini’s Furlher Exposition. Growth of Doctrine. Peace and J^ature. 
Battle of Life. Socialism Answered. Democracy. Libeialism in His- 
tory. The Twentieth-Century State. Religion and the State. The 
Roman Tradition. Universality Claimed. 

A S a supplement to his description of the philoso- 
^phical doctrine of Fascism, Mussolini has added a 
further contribution to the Enciclopedia Italiana in 
which he develops the political and social doctrines of 
his regime. In this there can be clearly followed the 
elements of Fascism which bring it into contrast with 
all other political conceptions. Writing of the begin- 
nings of the Fascist idea Mussolini says ; “ The years 
which preceded the March on Rome were years in 
which the necessity of action did not permit complete 
doctrinal investigations or elaborations. The battle 
was raging in the towns and villages. There w'ere dis- 
cussions, but what was more important and sacred — 
was to die. Men knew how to die. The doctrine — all 
complete and formed, with divisions into chapters, 
paragraphs and accompanying elucubrations — might 
be missing ; but there was something more decided 
to replace it ; there was faith.” To know how to die 
means also that one knows how to hve. And to live 
is to be able to fight. 

far as the general future and development of 
humanity is concerned and apart from any mere con- 
sideration of current politics, Fascism above all does 
not believe either in the possibility or utility of uni- 


versal peace. It therefore rejects the pacifism which 
masks surrender and cowardice. War alone brings 
all human energies to their highest tension and im- 
prints a seal of nobility on the peoples who have the 
virtue to face it. All other tests are but substitutes 
which never make a man face himself in the alterna- 
tive of life or death. A doctrine which has its starting- 
point at the prejudicial postulate of peace is therefore 
extraneous to Fascism. 

“ In the same way all international creations (which, 
as history demonstrates, can be blown to the winds 
when sentimental, ideal and practical elements storm 
the heart of a people) are also extraneous to tlie spirit 
of Fascism — even if such international creations are 
accepted for whatever usefulness they may have in any 
determined political situation. 

“ Fascism also transports this anti-pacifist spirit into 
the life of individuals. The proud squadrista motto 
‘ me ne frego ’ (anglicfe : ‘ I don’t give a damn ’) 
scrawled on the bandages of the wounded is an act of 
philosophy not only stoic. It is a summary of a doc- 
trine not only political : it is an education in strife and 
an acceptance of the risks which it carries ; it is a new 
style of Itahan life. It is thus that the F ascist loves and 
accepts fife, ignores and disdains suicide ; understands 
fife as a duty, a lifting up, a conquest ; something to be 
filled up and sustained on a high plane ; a thing that 
has to be lived through for its own sake, but above 
all for the sake of others near and far, present and 

Mussolini then explains that the “ demographic ” 
policy of the regime is the consequence of these prem- 
ises. “ The Fascist also loves his neighbour, but 
‘ neighbour ’ is not for him a vague and undefinable 



word ; love for his neighbour does not prevent neces- 
sary educational severities. Fascism rejects professions 
of universal affection and, though living in the com- 
munity of civilised peoples, it watches them and looks 
at them diffidently. It follows them in their state of 
mind and in the transformation of their interests, but 
it does not allow itself to be deceived by fallacious and 
mutable appearances.” 

This new notion of life as a spiritual battle brings 
Mussolini to consideration of the place of Fascism in 
the social system. He confronts Socialism and con- 
demns it, arguing that it is the exponent of a mistaken 
conception of human happiness, namely, self-sufficient 

“ It is the Fascist conception of life,” he writes, 
“ which leads Fascism to be the emphatic negation of 
the doctrine which constituted the basis of the so- 
called scientific Socialism or Marxism : the doctrine 
of historic materialism, according to which the story 
of human civilisation is to be explained only by the 
conflict of interests between the various social groups 
and with the change of the means and instruments of 

“ That the economic vicissitudes — discovery of 
prime or raw materials, new methods of labour, scien- 
tific inventions — have their particular importance, is 
denied by none, but that they suffice to explain human 
tiistory, excluding other factors from it, is absurd : 
Fascism still believes and will always believe in sanc- 
tity and in heroism, that is to say, in acts in which no 
economic motive — ^immediate or remote — operates. 

“ Fascism having denied historic materialism, by 
which men are only puppets in history, appearing and 
disappearing on the surface of the tides, while in the 


depths the real directive forces act and labour, it also 
denies the immutable and irreparable class warfare, 
which is the natural filiation of such an economistic 
conception of history ; and it denies above all that 
class warfare is the preponderating agent of social 

“ Being defeated on these two capital points of its 
doctrine, nothing remains of Socialism save the senti- 
mental aspiration — as old as humanity — to achieve a 
community of social life in which the sufferings and 
hardships of the humblest classes are alleviated. But 
here Fascism repudiates the concept of an economic 
‘ happiness ’ wHch is to be — at a given moment in 
the evolution of economy — sociahstically and almost 
automatically realised by assuring to all the maximum 
of well-being. 

‘'^Fascism denies the possibilities of the materialistic 
concept of ‘ happiness / — ^it leaves that to the econo- 
mists of the first half of the Seventeenth Century ; that 
is, it denies the equation ‘ well-being happiness,’ which 
reduces man to the state of the animals, mindful of only 
one thing — that of being fed and fattened ; reduced, in 
fact, to a pure and simple vegetative existence.” 

Mussolini faces realities concerning kings and re- 
publics, democracy and the equality of man : 

“After disposing of Socialism, Fascism opens a 
breach in the whole complex of the democratic ideolo- 
gies, and repudiates them in their theoretic premises 
as well as in their practical application or instrumenta- 
tion. Fascism denies that numbers, by the mere fact 
of being numbers, can direct human society ; it denies 
that these numbers can govern by means of periodical 
consultations ; it affirms also the fertilising, beneficent 
and unassailable inequality of men, /who cannot be 



levelled through an extrinsic and mechanical process 
such as universal suffrage. 

“ Regimes can be called democratic which, from 
time to time, give the people the illusion of being 
sovereign, whereas the real and effective sovereignty 
exists in other, and very often secret and irresponsible 

“ Democracy is a regime without a king, but very 
often with many kings, far more exclusive, tyrannical 
and ruinous than a single king, even if he be a tyrant, 
“ This explains why Fascism which, for contingent 
reasons, had assumed a republican tendency before 
1922, renounced it previous to the March on Rome, 
with the conviction that the political constitution of a 
State is not nowadays a supreme question ; and that, 
if the examples of past and present monarchies and 
past and present republics are studied, the result is 
that neither monarchies nor republics are to be judged 
under the assumption of eternity, but that they merely 
represent forms in which the extrinsic poUtical evolu- 
tion takes shape as well as the history, tire tradition and 
the psychology of a given coimtry. 

“ Consequently Fascism glides over the antithesis 
between monarchy and republic, on which democra- 
ticism wasted time, blaming the former for all social 
shortcomings, and exalting the latter as a regime of 
perfection. Yet it has been seen that there are repub- 
lics which may be profoundly absolutist and reaction- 
ary, and monarchies which welcome the most ven- 
turesome social and political experiments.’* 

Liberal doctrines are then considered and dismissed, 
their lasting good influences denied : 

“ As regards the Liberal doctrines, the attitude of 
Fascism is one of absolute opposition both in the 


political and in the economical field. There is no 
need to exaggerate the importance of Liberalism in 
the last century — simply for the sake of present-day 
polemics — and to transform one of the numerous doc- 
trines unfolded in that last century into a religion of 
humanity for all times, present and future. Liberalism 
did not flourish for more than a period of fifteen years. 
It was born in 1830 from the reaction against the Holy 
Alliance, which attempted to set Europe back to the 
period which preceded ’89, and had its years of splen- 
dour in 1848, when also Pius IX. was a Liberal. Its 
decadence began immediately afterwards. If 1848 
was a year of fight and poesy, 1849 was a year of weak- 
ness and tragedy. The Roman Republic was killed by 
another Republic, the French Republic. In the same 
year Marx issued his famous manifesto of Communism. 
In^ 1851 Napoleon III. made his anti-Liberal coup 
d’Etat and reigned over France until 1870. He was 
overthrown by a popular movement, following one 
of the greatest defeats registered in history. The victor 
was Bismarck, who always ignored the religion of liberty 
and its prophets. It is symptomatic that a people of 
high civilisation like the Germans completely ignored 
the religion of liberty throughout the whole Nineteenth 
Century — ^with but one parenthesis represented by that 
which was called ‘ the ridiculous parliament of Frank- 
fort,’ which lasted one season. Germany realised its 
national unity outside of Liberalism, against Liberal- 
ism — a doctrine which seemed alien to the German 
spirit, a spirit essentially monarchical, since Liberalism 
is the historic and logical anti-chamber of anarchy. 

“ The three wars of 1864, 1866 and 1870 conducted 
by ‘ Liberals ’ fike Moltke and Bismarck mark the 
three stages of German unity. As for Italian unity, 



Liberalism played a very inferior part in the make-up 
of Mazzini and Garibaldi, who were not Liberals. 
Without the intervention of the anti-Liberal Napoleon 
we would not have had Lombardy, and without the 
help of the anti-Liberal Bismarck at Sadowa and Sedan 
it is very likely that we would not have got Venice in 
1866 or that we would have entered Rome in 1870. 

“ During the period of 1870-1915 the preachers of 
the new Credo themselves denounced the twilight of 
their religion : it was beaten in the breach by deca- 
dence in literature. It was beaten in the open by 
activism in practice. Activism ; that is to say, 
nationalism, futurism, Fascism. 

“ The ‘ Liberal Century,’ after having accumulated 
an infinity of Gordian knots, sought to cut them in the 
hecatomb of the World War. Never did any religion 
impose such a terrible sacrifice. Have the gods of 
Liberalism slaked their blood-thirst ? 

“ Liberalism is now on the point of closing the 
doors of its deserted temples because the nations feel 
that its agnosticism in the economic field and its in- 
difference in political and moral matters causes, as it 
has already caused, the sure ruin of States. That is 
why all the political experiences of the contemporary 
world are anti-Liberal, and it is supremely silly to seek 
to classify them as things outside of history — as if his- 
tory was a hunting-ground reserved to Liberalism and 
its professors ; as if Liberalism were the last and in- 
comparable word of civilisation.” 

The omnipotent character of the State is argued : 

“ The capital point of Fascist doctrine is the concep- 
tion of the State, its essence, the work to be accom- 
plished, its final aims. In the conception of Fascism, 
the State is an absolute before which individuals and 


groups are relative. Individuals and groups are ‘ con- 
ceivable ’ inasmuch as they are in the State. The 
Liberal State does not direct the movement and the 
material and spiritual evolution of collectivity, but 
limits itself to recording the results ; the Fascist State 
has its conscious conviction, a will of its own, and for 
this reason it is called an ‘ ethical ’ State. 

“ From 1929 onwards to the present day, the uni- 
versal, political and economical evolution has still 
further strengthened these doctrinal positions. The 
giant who rules is the State. The one who can resolve 
the dramatic contradictions of capital is the State. 
What is called the crisis cannot be resolved except by 
the State and in the State.” 

Mussohni does not allow his assertions to go un- 
supported. His thesis on the Fascist State is fortified 
by a further criticism of the Liberal State, and the in- 
creased strength of the individual in the Fascist State 
is expounded. 

“ If Liberalism signifies the individual — then Fas- 
cism signifies the State. But the Fascist State is unique 
in its kind and is an original creation. It is not re- 
actionary but revolutionary, inasmuch as it anticipates 
the solution of certain universal problems such as 
those which are treated elsewhere (i) in the political 
sphere, by the subdivisions of parties, in the prepon- 
derance of parliamentarism and in the irresponsibfiity 
of assemblies ; (2) in the economic sphere, by the 
functions of trade unions which are becoming con- 
stantly more numerous and powerful, whether in the 
labour or industrial fields, in their conflicts and com- 
binations ; and (3) in the moral sphere by the necessity 
of order, discipline, obedience to those who are the 
moral dictators of the country. 



“ Fascism wants the State to be strong, organic and 
at the same time supported on a wide popular basis. 

“ As part of its task the Fascist State has penetrated 
the economic field : through the corporative, social 
and educational institutions which it has created. 
The presence of the State is felt in the remotest rami- 
fications of the country. And in the State also, all 
the political, economic and spiritual forces of the 
nation circulate, mustered in their respective organ- 

“ A State which stands on the support of millions of 
individuals who recognise it, who believe in it, who 
are ready to serve it, is not the tyrannical State of the 
medieval lord. It has nothing in common with the 
absolutist States before or after ’89. 

“ The individual in the Fascist State is not annulled 
but rather multiplied, just as in a regiment a soldier 
is not diminished, but multiplied by the number of his 

“ The Fascist State organises the nation, but leaves 
a sufficient margin afterwards to the individual ; it 
has limited the useless or harmful hberties and has 
preserved the essential ones. 

“ The one to judge in this respect is not the indivi- 
dual, but the State.” 

Of the essential place of religion in the State Musso- 
lini writes ; 

“ The Fascist State is not indifferent to the presence 
of the fact of religion in general nor to the presence of 
that particular established religion, which is Italian 
Catholicism. The State has no theology, but it has 
morality. In the Fascist State, religion is considered 
as one of the most profound manifestations of the 
spirit ; it is therefore not only respected, but de- 


fended and protected. 'The Fascist State does not 
create its own ‘ God ’ as Robespierre wanted to do at 
a certain moment in the last frenzies of the Convention ; 
nor does it vainly endeavour to cancel the idea of God 
from the mind as Bolshevism tries to do. Fascism 
respects the God of the ascetics, of the saints, and of 
the heroes. It also respects God as he is conceived 
and prayed to in the ingenuous and primitive heart 
of the people.”. 

In conclusion he points to the real import of the 
Roman Empire as an inspiration and example to 
Italy in the expansion of thought, and acclaims the 
Fascist faith as the conquering political force of the 
Twentieth Century. 

“ The Fascist State is a will expressing power and 
empire. The Roman tradition here becomes an idea 
of force. In the Fascist doctrine, empire is not only a 
territorial or a military or a commercial expression : 
it is a moral and a spiritual one. An empire can be 
thought of, for instance, as a nation which direcdy or 
indirectly guides other nations — without the need of 
conquering a single mile of territory. For Fascism, 
the tendency to empire, that is to say the expansion of 
nations, is a manifestation of vitality ; its contrary (the 
stay-at-home attitude) is a sign of decadence. Peoples 
who rise, or who suddenly flourish again, are imperial- 
istic ; peoples who die are peoples who abdicate. 
Fascism is a doctrine which most adequately repre- 
sents the tendencies, the state of mind of a people like 
the Italian people, which is rising again after many 
centuries of abandonment and of foreign servitude. 

“ But empire requires discipline, the co-ordination 
of forces, duty and sacrifice. This explains many phases 
of the practical action of the regime. It explains the 



aims of many of the forces of the State and the neces- 
sary severity against those who would oppose them- 
selves to this spontaneous and irresistible movement 
of the Italy of the Twentieth Century by trying to 
appeal to the discredited ideologies of the Nineteenth 
Century, which have been repudiated wherever great 
experiments of political and social transformation 
have been daringly undertaken. 

“ Never more than at the present moment have the 
nations felt such a thirst for an authority, for a direc- 
tion, for order. If every century has its peculiar doc- 
trine, there are a thousand indications that Fascism 
is that of the present century. That it is a doctrine of 
life is shown by the fact that it has created a faith ; 
that the faith has taken possession of mind is demon- 
strated by the fact that Fascism has had its fallen and 
its martyrs. 

“ Fascism has now attained in the world an univer- 
sality over all doctrines. Being realised, it represents 
an epoch in the history of the human mind.” 


Revolution Idea Kept Alive. Symbolism, Altars and Rites. “Presente.” 
History Exalted. Military Spirit and Religious Formulas. The Deca- 
logue. The Oath. The Prayer. Ara Patria. “ The Book and the 
Rifle.” “ Fascist Culture.” National Conscience. 

H OW are these abstract doctrines, these pragmatic 
ideas, these new statements of governmental 
ideals, these new forces of life, these revolutionary out- 
looks — how are they transfused into the brains and 
blood of the Italian people ? A nation can accept the 
results of a regime and acclaim that regime so long as 
the results are beneficial in a material sense. But such 
an acceptance of the material improvements bestowed 
on Italy by Fascist rule would be the very negation of 
Fascism. We have seen that the antithesis of Fascism 
is the easy contented life. How does Mussolini ensure 
that the forty million people of Italy don’t only 
accept the body-politic and not the spirit ? 

It is done by keeping alive the spirit of the Revolution. 
The year 1922, the year of the March on Rome, is not 
looked on — is not allowed to be looked on — merely as 
the date of a revolutionary putsch which marked the 
beginning of a new form of Government by a new set 
of men. Instead, the people are told that the Revolu- 
tion is in continuous progress, that it is a thing alive 
today and tomorrow, impelled ever onward by the 
same forces which culminated in the Fascist accession 
to power. The motto, “ Fight, fight, fight,” which 
X ^21 


characterised the squadristi days in the struggle against 
their opponents, is still emblazoned on the propaganda 
scrolls of today — the fight now being for the further 
penetration of Fascist principles against all and any 
opposition “ whomsoever, wheresoever and whenso- 
ever.” The crusade for the universality of Fascism is 
one of personal and national example. 

We have seen how Mussolini has elevated his politi- 
cal philosophy to a faith. It has accordingly become 
what may be likened to a religion with all the sym- 
bolism, emblems, tokens, martyrs’ rolls, commemora- 
tive festivals, creeds and decalogues associated with a 
cult. By the recognition, the honouring and the exer- 
cise of these, the fact of the Fascist revolutionary 
political faith is kept alive and active. 

Special significance and ceremonies max'k the annual 
occurrence of Italian festivals. The 21st of April, the 
festival of the Birth of Rome, has been given a double 
significance by being selected as Italy’s Labour Day. 
The idea of the continued growth of a Roman Italy 
is emphasised in “ coping-stone ” ceremonies for public 
works completed during the year. October 28, anni- 
versary of the March on Rome, and November 4, 
anniversary of Victory Day (equivalent to our Armis- 
tice Day), are celebrated with full parade throughout 
the land. 

The symbol of the lictor and the gesture of the 
Fascist salute of course identifies modern Italy with 
things of Imperial Rome, and the bannerets of the 
Fascists are not looked on as mere flags to wave, but 
as sacred tokens of their faith. The names of local 
Fascists who have fallen are inscribed on many of 
them and others are decorated with the war honours 
of the vanished comrades. The Fascists are taught 


that the salutes given to the flag are tributes to the 
memory of those who have fought and died for the 
ideals that the living now continue fighting to fulfil, 
The Blackshirts have a passion for anniversaries, so 
that no contribution of history. National or Party, is 
allowed to fade into forgetfulness or indifference. 

On the classic summit of the Capitoline hill, on the 
site where the triple deities, Jupiter, Jove and Minerva 
once received the worship of the Romans, an altar 
to the victims of the Fascist Revolution has been 
erected. Pilgrimages are made to it, and its base is 
always hidden with a succession of laurel wreaths 
sent from aU parts of the country. The altar as a form 
of monument is prominent in the Fascist movement. 
When the lira was stabilised on a gold standard, the 
paper money representing inflation was not merely 
burned in bank furnaces . It was symbolically consumed 
on an altar fire before the National Monument in 

Orations made at the altars are usually marked 
with aU the rhetoric of mysticism. The newspapers 
frequently report incidents of Fascists young or old, 
who, on their deathbeds, cry out to be dressed and 
buried in their black shirt. At funerals of Fascists it 
is also the established rite for the senior Blackshirt 
present to call out the name of the dead comrade, 
whereupon the assembled mourners answer with a 
shouted ” Present.” A similar rite is performed at aU 
large special assemblies of Fascists, especially on 
Great War or Revolution anniversaries. The names 
of their heroes are shouted and the multitude answers 
with “ Present.” 

At the Fascist Revolution “ Tenth Year ” Exhibi- 
tion a great circular hall in memory of the fallen was 



designed with its walls covered with the illuminated 
word “ Presente” and below this sign of coiitinuity in 
sacrifice were ranged the flags of the early Fasci di 
Combattimento. In the centre of the hall stood an 
illuminated cross. Everything else was dim and 
hushedj save for the faint sound of a radio arrangement 
which transmitted, like a faint echo, the choral singing 
of the Fascist hymn, Giovinezza- Each of the hundreds 
of thousands who were organised from all parts of Italy 
to visit the exhibition were ushered into this room of 
sacrificial memories on conclusion of their inspection 
of the Revolution relics. 

This kind of symbolism is carried into every phase 
of Italian public life. All institution buildings are 
characterised by a display of salient and apposite 
mottoes quoted from the pungent utterances of Musso- 
lini. The spiritual aspects of Fascism as described in 
the doctrine are woven into the texts of every school- 
book and university handbook. The emblem of the 
fasces and lictor meets the eye at every turn, and that 
insignia, together with the cross, and portraits of the 
King and Mussolini, are displayed in every classroom, 
hall of justice and government office throughout the 

These influences permeate the whole organisation 
of the country as built up by the F ascist regime. That 
organisation will be outlined in due course, but it has 
to be remembered that the idea of Fascism as a cult is 
always kept present. The war and Italian history is 
exalted. The combative element of body and spirit is 
insisted on. And Mussolini is upheld as the saviour and 
creator of Italy, his name extolled as the supreme 
artificer of the nation’s destiny. The absolutism of 
Fascism and the absolutism attributed to Mussolini by 



the Fascists is indicated in the position given to the 
Stale in accordance with the doctrine, and the repeti- 
tion in all schoolbooks and manuals for young 
Fascists of the phrase, “ Mussolini is always right.” 

The first ideas of the symbolism introduced by the 
poet d’Annunzio for the inspiration of his Arditi during 
the Fiume episode, are now surpassed and consolidated 
in the framework of the Fascist national system. 

Guidebooks to the galleries of mediaeval art and 
to the forums have been rewritten for the rising genera- 
tions so that these Italian works of art and Roman 
memories are no longer just material for objective 
study. These glorious memorials are instead de- 
scribed as belonging to the new Italy, blood of its 
blood — an inheritance, a justification and a starting- 
point for new endeavour. The companion of Dante 
is invoked from the shades : Virgil is the prophet of 
new Caesars. 

By making all these things politically, socially and 
nationally sacred — attributes of a “ faith,” Fascism 
has automatically ostracised a sense of humour from 
its manifestations, for no man can be witty at the 
expense of his faith. And being absolute in its con- 
ception of the State and the place of the individual in 
the State, leg-pulling must be political blasphemy and 
any opposition to Fascist principles means political 
heresy — the unforgivable sin. 

Against some of the Blackshirt ceremonies and inci- 
dental customs — like the altar orations and the requests 
of the dying as above described — the Catholic Church 
has on occasion made local protest. Each watches the 
other with jealous eye across the debatable ground 
where their demarcation of the things of God and 
Caesar overlap. 



The doctrinal religion of Fascism is developed on 
militaiy formulas, so that the ideas of discipline, 
obedience, service, sacrifice, co-operation and a 
fighting spirit may be more potently and immediately 
encouraged. The Fascist Militia have a “ Decalogue ” 
which reads : 

“ Know that the Fascist and specially the Militia- 
men ought not to believe in perpetual peace. 

” Punishment is always deserved. 

“You serve your country even when you stand 
guard over a tin of petrol. 

“ A comrade ought to be as a brother (i) because 
he lives with you, and (2) because he thinks like you. 

“ Your rifle and cartridge pouch, etc., hav^ been 
entrusted to you, not to be spoiled with laziness, but 
to be preserved for war, 

“ Never say ‘ Anyhow the Government pays,’ be- 
cause it is you yourself who pays ; and the Govern- 
ment is that which you wanted, the one for which 
you have put on your uniform. 

“ Discipline is the sun of the armies — without which 
soldiers have but confusion and defeat. 

“ Mussolini is always right ! 

“ A volunteer has no excuse when he disobeys. 

“ One thing ought to be clear above all : the life 
of the Duce” 

The Militiaman’s oath is : “I swear to carry out 
the orders of the Duce without discussion, to serve 
the cause of the Fascist Revolution with all my 
strength and if necessary with my blood.” And then 
there is the Militiaman’s prayer which reads : “ O 
God, who lightest all flames and strengthenest all 
hearts, renew each day my passion for Italy. Make 
me always more worthy of our Dead, in order that 


they themselves more strong may answer ‘ Present ’ 
to the living. Nourish my book (thought) with Thy 
wisdom and my rifle (action) with Thy will. Make 
my vision more sharp and my feet more steadfast on 
the sacred passes of my country : on its highways, by 
its coasts, in its forests and on its fourth shore (North 
Africa) which once was Rome’s. Make me worthy 
when the future soldier marches beside me in the 
ranks, so that I hear his faithful heartbeats. Make me 
worthy when the insignia and flags are carried so that 
everyone may recognise in them the Fatherland : the 
Fatherland which we will make more great by each 
faithfully adding his little to the work. O Lord ! 
Make the cross the ensign which precedes the banner 
of my legion. And save Italy in the Duce, always and 
in the hour of dying in harness. Amen.” 

The decalogue, the oath and the prayer perhaps be- 
long more to the chapter describing the Militia, but 
they are instead inserted here as symptomatic of how 
the tenets of the abstract doctrine are transferred to 
the levels of practical affairs by the guardians of the 
Revolution. Republished frequently in the news- 
papers and magazines, disseminated in schoolbooks, 
and inscribed on walls, these sentiments or sentiments 
like them — all expressed in slogan form — are always 
being impressed in the public mind. 

Another element of spiritual force assiduously 
developed is the new and special importance given to 
the National Monument in the ceremonies of the 
people. No visitor to Rome can have escaped noticing 
the enormous and ornate marble pile which rises high 
over the roofs of Rome at the southern end of the 
Corso in the Piazza Venezia. The erection as a whole 
was put up by the past regimes as a grandiose mem- 



orial of Italy’s Risorgimento unity. Below a colossal 
statute of the Dea Roma on the pedestal of this enor- 
mous monument Italy’s Unknown Soldier is buried. 
With its Risorgimento associations ; with its gilded 
statue of the first King of United Italy ; with its 
figure of Roma, destiny in hand ; with the Unknown 
Soldier’s tomb ; with a Roman altar marked with the 
emblem of the Fascist axe ; with its commanding 
position, facing north, screening the Capitol ; with its 
great broad flight of steps, made for ceremonial 
parades, this National Monument set in the heart of 
Rome, has become a national shrine, the Altar of the 
Country. Not a day passes without some homage to 
what is symbolised. 

And in the Party headquarters there is a Votive 
Chapel where the Fascists pray and hold vigil like the 
knights of other days. 

I In the Universities the young Fascists are taught to 
revere the double emblem of the Book and the Rifle, 
symbolising the Pensiero and Azione of Mazzini and 

Courses of " Fascist Culture ” are also given in 
various educational institutions, but it is with the 
above-mentioned rites, rituals, symbols and ceremon- 
ies that the “ moral ” and “ ethical ” significance of 
Mussolini’s doctrines are impinged on a nation whose 
love of parades and the picturesque makes the lessons 
conveyed all the more impressionable. 

The great aim is the creation and sustenance of a 
national conscience. 



“ If there is anything certain in 
human affairs, it is that valuable 
acquisitions are only to be retained 
by the continuation of the same 
ener^es which gained them. In 
the inevitable changes of human 
affairs, new inconveniences and 
dangers continually grow up which 
must be countered by new resources 
and contrivances. Whatever quali- 
ties, therefore, in a government tend 
to encourage activity, energy, cour- 
age, originality, are requisites of 
Permanence as well as of Progress,” 
John Stuart Mill. 

“ The best kind of wisdom is that 
which does not surrender after 



T he governmental machine erected by the Fascist 
State does not only concern the mechanism for 
running a new form of government. It also provides 
for the continuity of the Revolution itself and, as well, 
it formulates the means for the self-protection of the 
Revolution, State and Government. And yet, de- 
spite these things, it is claimed that aU is done within 
the orbit of the Constitution — the changes in the 
letter of the Constitution being but the reinforcement 
and rejuvenation of its spirit. The machine is, in 
short, just such an original and energetic confrontation 
of these inevitable changes of human affairs which 
John Stuart Mill envisaged in the quotation, cited on 
the previous page, as the requisite of permanence and 

Mussolini, as we have seen from his exposition of 
Fascist doctrine, has done much more than make mere 
statutory adjustments in legislative form. Through 
legislation he has impressed his system ” of govern- 
ment and of life ” into every department of the nation’s 
activities, physical and mental : and he has done this 
in such a way that each department is at some point 
correlated to another. For this reason it is quite im- 
possible to isolate groups of laws under strict categori- 
cal headings. 

Nevertheless, to facilitate a survey of the legislative 
machine of the Fascist State, I have in the following 
pages grouped the component parts under headings 



such as Constitutional Changes, Protective Laws, 
Continuity Laws, the Corporative State, Social Welfare, 
etc. In reality, however, it would be difficult to say 
whether, for instance, the Fascist Volunteer Militia 
should come under the Constitutional, Protective, Con- 
tinuity, Social Welfare (physical education) group or 
the Army. The Corporative State likewise flows into 
Public Welfare, Public Works, National and Inter- 
national Economy. 

This amazing criss-cross of correlated interests is 
by no means the least interesting of the many features 
of the Fascist State ; but it is one which presses 
heavily on any who would embark upon such a task 
as this book represents. “ Unitarian State ” is easy 
to say, but intricate to describe. I would therefore 
ask the reader to remember that all the items touching 
government or law in the following chapters are inter- 
connected, directly or indirectly, with one another ; 
and that through them all there also runs the spiritual 
strain described in the chapter “ Doctrine into Cult.” 

Having followed the growth of Fascism step by step 
there is bound to be a certain amormt of repetition 
in these following chapters describing the State 
organisation of Fascism as it stands today. In order 
to make sectional completeness this is unavoidable.' 




Special Powers to Prime Minister. Alone Responsible to the King. Laws 
by Royal Decree. The Fascist Party. Its Organs. National Council. 
Directory. Strength. The Grand Council Constitution. Deliberative 
Functions. Its Powers : Election Lists, Succession to the Throne, Pre- 
rogatives of Crown, Government and Foreign Affairs, Succession to Capo 
del Governo. Modality of Royal Selection of Capo del Governo. Recom- 
position of Chamber. Election Methods. Senate. Academy, 

T he evolution of the Italian Constitution from its 
embryo form as the Statute of 1848 received from 
1924 onwards several revolutionary adjustments at the 
hands of the Fascists. These adjustments were carried 
out in the name of restoring the classic Roman tradi- 
tion of a strong and authoritative State. The first in- 
novation was the concession of absolute and indepen- 
dent seniority to the Prime Minister over all the other 
members of the Cabinet. The Cabinet Ministers are 
no longer responsible directly to the King, but to the 
Prime Minister in his capacity as Capo del Governo. 
The Capo del Governo is alone responsible to the 
King not only for his own governmental acts but for 
those of his ministers. The Capo del Governo directs 
and co-ordinates the various ministers and ministries. 
In this manner the final executive power is unified and 
identified in one man who is alone answerable to the 
Sovereign. A Fascist Premier is something consider- 
ably more than primus inter pares. Among unusual 
prerogatives is one whereby all bills and questions 
for debate must be approved by the Capo del Governo, 



a system which effectively prevents the Government 
from ever being surprised by a snatch-vote or by an 
unexpected criticism. 

The second important new function is one conceded 
to the Cabinet ; that of having the power and au- 
thority to make laws by Royal Decree, without 
necessarily having any confirmation in the Chamber 
until after the Decree has become law. This is of course 
a common enough emergency system in other countries, 
but in Italy it is normal and not abnormal. The 
conditions of modem life, especially in economic and 
international affairs, demand a speedy, secret and im- 
mediately effective method of creating laws. The 
field in which this power is exercised has in Italy 
stipulated limits, but the proviso that mgency is 
necessary is sufficient to justify the extension of that 
field to practically any limits. 

iThe Fascist Party, although not in a strictly juridical 
sense identified with the Constitution, is linked to it 
through the offices of the Duce and of the Party Secre- 
tary! The Party Secretary exercises not a power but 
an influence in Italy second only to that of the Capo 
del Governo. The Party develops its activities imder 
the supreme leadership of II Duce, who must also be 
Capo del Governo. The Party Secretary is nominated 
by Royal Decree on the recommendation of the Capo 
del Governo. He has a place in the Cabinet. He is 
a member by right of the Supreme Commission of 
State Defence. 

■The Party does not only connect itself upwards into 
the hierarchy of the State but it links itself on to 
provincial administrations and through them right 
down to the people. The real task of the Party in 
fact is, while asserting its place in the high councils oD 


the nation, to keep in touch with the masses. , The 
Party orgar^s are the Grand Council, the Directory, 
the National Council and the Disc^linary Court. 

The Grand Council is the vital centre of both Party 
and State. It is the synthesis of the Revolution : the 
extension into national administrative life of the 
constituent elements which organised the early battles 
against the Reds, the committee which was respon- 
sible for the March on Rome, the council which fought 
the democratic-liberal opposition. The president of 
the Grand Council is the Capo del Govemo, Duce del 
Fascismo. It is a deliberative body which co-ordinates 
the whole life of the regime. It has no executive func- 
tions ; but what resolutions it passes today become 
Government and Party policy and law tomorrow. 

The Directory is a committee which does for the 
Party what the Cabinet does for the Chamber : it 
puts Grand Council resolutions affecting the Party 
into immediate execution, just as the Cabinet puts 
Grand Council resolutions affecting Government into 
effective practice. 

The National Council is composed of the Secretaries 
of the Provincial Federations of Fascists. The Federal 
Secretaries are nominated by the Capo del Governo 
on the recommendation of the Party Secretary. The 
local provincial and territorial Secretaries depend from 
the Federal Secretaries. There are also provincial 
Directories concerned with Party administration. 
These secretaries and directories control the individual 
Fasci centres ; and the members of these Fasci meet 
in formal assembly at least once a year to learn the 
programme which the Party intends to carry out. The 
members are presumed to be the pick of the people — 
the most self-disciplined, hard-working and loyal. On 



getting their membership card they swear to obey the 
orders of the Duce without discussion, to defend the 
cause of the Revolution with all their might, even to 
death if necessary. The Disciplinary Court is con- 
cerned with internal action touching the discipline of 
the Party and its members. Its findings are some- 
times published. 

The strength of the Fascist Party membership at the 
beginning of the eleventh year of Fascism was as 
follows : Men, 1,007,231 ; Women, 145,210 ; Young 
Fascists, 39,314 ; Young Fighting Fascists, 608,669 ; 
University Fascists, 57,996 ; School Association Fas- 
cists, 108,127; Civil Servant Fascists, 191,269; 
Public Works Fascists, 68,854 ; Railwaymen Fascists, 
122,096 ; and Post Office Fascists, 69,357. These re- 
present people who actually hold the party ticket. 
Large membership is not encouraged. Indeed more 
attention is given to weeding out the ranks rather than 
adding to them. The above figures represent the 
current general level maintained in the Party. There 
are of course tens of thousands of others who are 
affiliated one way or another to the Party, without 
being actual members. 

Now let us return to a description of the Grand 
Fascist Council. 

There are three categories of members on the 
Grand Council : (r) The Quadrumvirate of the 

March on Rome and a small group of persons who 
serve for a limited time in virtue of offices which they 
hold in the regime. (2) Members who are appointed 
automatically when they take up certain other offices. 
This category includes the President of the Senate, the 
Speaker of the Chamber, those who hold political 
portfolios, the Commander-in-Chief of the Fascist 

33 ^ 


Militia, the heads of the principal Syndical organisa- 
tions and the Party Secretary, who is also the Secretary 
of the Grand Council. All these people cease to be 
members as soon as they lose the offices above de- 
scribed. The third category consists of nominees 
selected by the Capo del Governo. They are usually 
technical experts or specialists, and their appointment 
is for three years, renewable. 

The first two categories are elected by Royal Decree 
on the recommendation of the Capo del Governo. 

The meetings of the Council are absolutely secret. 
Beyond the laconic summaries given to the Press 
through the Party Order Sheet, I have never known, 
in over eleven years’ experience, of a single leakage of 
the Council’s all-important deliberations. 

As I have said, the Council’s functions are delibera- 
tive. It decides on the final list of 400 parliamentary 
candidates to be submitted to the electorate at election 
time as one national constituency ; it approves the 
statutes and policy of the Party ; it has power to 
deliberate on the question of Succession to the Throne 
and the prerogatives of the Grown ; it decides the 
composition and duties of itself, the Chamber and the 
Senate ; it can frame decree laws, trade union and 
Corporation laws ; it can decide on foreign affairs and 
on the relations between the Church and State ; and 
it is the body which prepares the list of names from 
which the successor to the Capo del Governo, Duce 
del Fascismo, is nominated, in the event of the death, 
removal or retirement of the Capo del Governo 
holding office. For instance, the Council has already 
chosen three names as possible successors to Mussolini. 
These names are kept completely secret in the 
bosom of the Council and in the secret archives of 




the Party. When required, the envelope containing 
the names will be handed to the King, who will make 
his selection of one. In this manner succession is pro- 
vided for under the word of the King and therefore 
within the Constitution, as the King in selecting his 
Chief Minister is exercising his Sovereign rights. 

Another drastic modification of public rights affect- 
ing the Constitution concerns the composition of the 
Chamber. As already indicated, 400 members are 
elected as for one national constituency. The system 
of nominations has completely transformed the char- 
acter of the Chamber. The deputies, as already 
known to the reader, no longer represent consti- 
tuencies, but specific national interests. In this 
respect the Chamber has in theory the character of 
a conference of diversified experts. The trade Cor- 
porations and a selection of a few other State public 
welfare and cultural institutions submit a total list 
of 800 candidates to the Council. The minimum age 
for candidates is twenty-five years. The Council select 
400 of these and present the 400 names as one list to 
an electorate of manhood suffrage. Electors are 
twenty-one years old or eighteen if married. The 
electorate vote yes or no for that list as a whole. If 
by the faintest possible chance the list is rejected at 
the poll, then another list of another 400 is submitted 
and so on, until a list is elected. The elected period 
is five years. The last elections, it will be remembered, 
were in March 1929. How the Corporate trade union 
hierarchical units have relieved the Chamber of much 
of its deliberative functions will be referred to when 
writing of the Corporative State. 

The framework of the Senate has been left little 
altered by the Fascists. It remains an Upper Chamber 



of experienced legislators and men who have distin- 
guished themselves in public office. Election to the 
Senate used to be a method of public recognition for 
services of a national character not necessarily political ; 
but there were many Senators whose terms of usefulness 
to the country were dead-ended by their promotion 
to senatorial rank. That aspect of the Senate has been 
eliminated by the creation of the Royal Italian Aca- 
demy. This institution, modelled on the Academy of 
France, has qualities which encourage the continued 
application of the arts and sciences, not only by the 
establishment of scholarships organised by the Aca- 
demy for public competition, but it has definite re- 
search branches which link it into the Corporative and 
economic branches of the State, and through that to 
the Constitution. 




Novel Features. Labour Charier. Labour Courts. Employment and 
Welfare. Collective Contracts. Strikes and Lock-outs Illegal. Sanc- 
tions. Syndical Categories. Regional Categories. Their Purpose. The 
Corporations. Their Purpose. State and Labour Co-operation. National 

T he Fascist State is also known as a “ Unitarian,” 
“ totalised ” or “ Corporate State.” The words 
explain themselves ; all activities, in their complexity 
of parts or in their national sum, are developed within 
the orbit of the State. In short — team-work on a 
national scale. As the wealth and well-being of a 
modem State lie in its productive capacity, the largest 
problems affecting the State concern the two indis- 
pensable elements of production ; Capital and Labour, 
Master and Man. It has been the endeavour of Fascist 
Italy to correlate these elements and at the same time 
to reconcile the continuous results of that correlation 
to the interests of the State. 

In order to achieve these ends a number of original 
and revolutionary features have been put in operation 
by the Fascist Government — the total features forming 
a new mechanism of national government, produc- 
tion, distribution, social welfare and political educa- 
tion, known in its harmonised entirety as the Corporate 

It is to be noted that the task is by no means yet 
completed. Much is yet in the experimental ” try — 
failure — try again ” phase ; but enough experience has 



already been gathered to convince the Fascist Govern- 
ment that it is well on the way towards producing an 
effective system of national collaboration destined to 
open a new epoch of social-political thought and appli- 
cation not alone in Italy but in other countries of the 
civilised world. 

The outstanding novelties of the Fascist system may 
be generalised as follows ; 

(1) A basic charter of rights for all employee workei's 
(the Labour Charter). 

(2) The enrolment or affiliation of every worker in 
Italy— be he a manual or skilled labourer, an artisan, 
an employer, a professional man, an intellectual 
worker, an artist, whatsoever he be — in a Syndicate 
appropriate to whatever of the above such categories 
he may belong. 

Enrolment is not compulsory. The real inducement 
is that of personal interest ; and non-membership, 
while depriving the individual of collective labour 
advantages as well as benefits of a social welfare 
nature, does not free him from the obligation of con- 
tributing towards his category Syndicate, because his 
Syndicate represents him and acts for him whether 
he is a member or not. 

(3) The legal recognition of these Syndicates by the 
State — thus bringing them within the orbit of the 
State for the protection of the status of the Syndicates 
and for the exercise of a supreme unifying influence 
and control. 

Early experiments showed that the task of exam- 
ining and granting the applications of the innumerable 
Syndicates for legal recognition involved delays, so the 
actual legal recognition is conceded to the category 
Associations which are the next higher groupments of 

34 ^ 


the local category Syndicates. Recognition of the larger 
units automatically gives extension of privileges and 
obligations to the lesser. While, technically, the Syn- 
dicates are not thus recognised, I have nevertheless 
continued to refer in this general paragraph to Syndi- 
cates, and not to the Associations, so as to emphasise 
the full range of the organisation. Associations which 
are not recognised by the Government may exist. 

(4) The faculty of the employee worker’s Syndicates 
to make collective contracts for beneficial labour con- 
ditions applicable to all within their category. 

(5) Provision (through the Corporations) for a con- 
tinuous consultative and deliberative co-operation 
between employer and employee. 

(6) The prohibition of strikes and lock-outs, with 
penal sanctions. 

(7) The creation of independent but technical boards 
for the equitable resolution of individual grievances. 

(8) The creation of a Labour Court for the settle- 
ment of collective grievances. 

(9) Machinery by means of which the Syndicates 
or their representatives can be ranged territorially from 
local to Provincial and National units, always within 
their categories, and with the Syndicates of employers 
and employees ascending in parallel extensions. 

(10) Corporative machinery which provides for the 
co-operation of employers and employees, together 
with technical experts and Government represent- 
atives at ascending territorial levels from local to 
Provincial and National. 

(11) A National Council of Corporations in touch 
with the economic and social conditions of the whole 
country which co-ordinates the relations and regula- 
tions of the category units of employers and employees. 



(12) A Ministry of Corporations, with a knowledge 
of the economic and political direction and necessities 
of the Government, which exercises a higher control 
and intervention when and where need be in the 
totalised interests of the country at large. 

(13) A Minister of Corporations who brings the 
whole organisation of production and social welfare 
into the supreme deliberations of the Cabinet, the 
Fascist Council and the State. 

(14) The category units of workers and professional 
men in National Confederations which provide the 
majority quota of parliamentary candidates from 
which the Grand Fascist Council selects its list for 
submission to the suffrage of the Italian electorate. 

Having surveyed the principal characteristics of the 
Fascist Corporate in a general ascending scale from 
the workman to Minister, from Charter to Cabinet, and 
from local Syndicates to Parliament, let us now go over 
the same ground again in more detail and with a fuller 

For convenience’ sake I use the words employer and 
employee ; but neither of these words, nor master and 
man, nor labourer, have any place in the Fascist 
Labour vocabulary. Instead, the employee or work- 
man or labourer is called a “ worker ” and the 
employer or master is called “ a giver of work.” 

The Labour Charter does not deal with specific in- 
stances but with general principles. It expresses, 
axiomaticaUy, the purpose, rights and obligations of 
workmen in the Fascist State. Its thirty clauses are 
as follows : 

I . The Italian Nation is an organism endowed with a pur- 
pose, a life, and means of action transcending those of the 
individuals, or groups of individuals composing it. It is a 



moral, political and economic unit which finds its integral 
realisation in the Fascist State. 

2. Work in all its various forms — intellectual, technical or 
manual — is a social duty. On these grounds, and on these 
grounds alone, it is brought under the supervision of the 

From the national standpoint the mass of production repre- 
sents a single unit ; it has one and a single object — namely, 
the well-being of those engaged in production and the 
development of national power. 

3. There is complete freedom of professional or syndical 
organisation. But Syndicate-Associations legally recognised 
and subject to State control alone have the right of legal 
representation of the whole category for which they arc con- 
stituted ; they have the right to protect their interests in 
their relations with the State or other professional associ- 
ations ; to stipulate Collective Labour Contracts binding 
on all members of the particular category ; to impose dues 
and to exercise on their account public functions delegated 
to them. 

4. The concrete expression of the solidarity existing be- 
tween the various factors of production is represented by the 
Collective Labour Contract, which conciliates the opposing 
interests of employers of labour and of workers, subordinating 
them to the higher interests of production. 

5. The Labour Court is the organ by means of which 
the State intervenes in order to settle labour disputes, 
whether arising from the observance of contracts or other 
existing rules or from the formulation of new labour con- 

6. Legally recognised professional associations ensure legal 
equality between employers and workers, keep a strict con- 
trol over production and labour, and promote the improve- 
ment of both. 

The Syndicate-Associations constitute the unitary organi- 
sation of the forces of production and integrally represent 
their interests, 



A piopigaiidi leproduction of the opemnc; Ai tides of the Fascist Labour 
Chaitpi which dtlines thi lights, obligatiom and pruilegcs of the woikers on 
a basis of class co operation 


In virtue of this integral rcprcscntationj and in view ol (he 
fact that the interests of production are the interests of liie 
nation, the law recognises them as State organs. 

7. The Corporate State considers that in the sphere of pro- 
duction private enterprise is the most effective and useful 
instrument in the interests of the nation. 

In view of the fact that the private organisation of pro- 
duction is a function of national concern, the organiser of 
the enterprise is responsible to the State for the direction 
given to production. Collaboration between the forces of 
production gives rise to reciprocal rights and duties, The 
worker, whether technician, employer, or employee, is an 
active collaborator in the economic enterprise, the responsi- 
bility for the direction of which rests with the employer. 

8. Professional Associations of Employers are required to 
promote by all possible means a continued increase in the 
quantity of production and a reduction of costs. The repre- 
sentative organs of persons exercising a liberal profession or 
art and associations of civil servants must encourage arts, 
science and letters, with a view to improving production and 
to the achievement of the moral objects of the Syndical 

g. State intervention in economic production arises only 
when private initiative is lacking or is inadequate or when 
political interests of the State arc involved. This interven- 
tion may take the form of control, assistance or direct 

10. Judicial action cannot be invoked in collective labour 
controversies unless the Syndicate-Association organ has first 
attempted conciliation. 

Professional Associations have the right in individual dis- 
putes concerning the interpretation and application of col- 
lective labour contracts to employ their good offices for the 
purpose of conciliation. 

Jurisdiction over such disputes is placed in the ordinary 
Courts, assisted by assessors appointed by the professional 
Associations concerned. 




1 1 . Professional Associations are required to regulate by 
means of Collective Contracts the labour relations existing 
between the categories of employers of labour and of workers 
represented by them. 

Collective Labour Contracts are concluded between the 
first grade Associations under the direction and control of the 
central organisations except in the event of the exercise of 
the power of substitution by the higher grade Association in 
the cases specified in the law and statutes. 

All Collective Labour Contracts must, under pain of 
nullity, contain precise rules on such matters as disciplinary 
relations, period of approval, the amount and payment of re- 
muneration and hours of work. 

12. The action of the Syndicate, the conciliatory efforts of 
the Syndicate organs and the decisions of the Labour Courts 
shall guarantee that wages shall correspond to the normal 
demands of life, to the possibilities of production and the out- 
put of labour. 

Wages shall be determined without reference to any gen- 
eral rules by agreement between the parties to the collective 

13. The consequences of crises in production and of mone- 
tary phenomena should be shared equally between all the 
different factors of production. 

The data furnished by public administrations, by the 
Central Statistical Office and by the legally recognised pro- 
fessional Associations with respect to conditions of production 
and of work, the situation on the money market and the 
variations in the standard of life of workers shah, after having 
been co-ordinated and elaborated by the Ministry of Cor- 
porations, supply the standard for reconciling the interests of 
the various categories and of the various classes among each 
other and with the higher interests of production. 

14. When contracts concern piece-work, and the payments 
due thereunder are made at intervals of more than fifteen 
days, adequate weekly or fortnightly sums on account are due. 



Night worlc, with the exception of ordinary regular night 
shifts, must be paid at a higher rate than day work. 

In such cases where the work is paid at piece-rate, the rate 
must be such that a diligent workman, of a normal working 
capacity, will be able to earn a minimum amount over and 
above the basic wage. 

1 5 . The worker has the right to a weekly day of rest, which 
shall fall on Sunday. 

Collective Contracts shall apply this principle while taking 
account of legal conditions in force, of the technical neces- 
sities of the enterprise and, within the limits of these neces- 
sities, shall see that civil and religious holidays are observed 
according to local traditions. The working time-table must 
be scrupulously and zealously observed by the worker. 

1 6. Workers in enterprises of continuous activity shall, 
after the expiry of a year of uninterrupted service, have the 
right to an annual period of rest with pay. 

17. In enterprises of continuous activity the worker has 
the right, in the event of a cessation of labour relations on 
account of discharge without any fault on his part, to an 
indemnity proportional to his years of service. Similar in- 
demnity is also due to his family or representatives in the 
event of the death of a worker. 

18. In enterprises of continuous activity the transfer of the 
enterprise into other hands shall not put an end to the Labour 
Contract, and the workers employed shall have the same 
rights with regard to the new employer. Similarly, illness on 
the part of the worker, provided it does not exceed a certain 
period, shall not put an end to the Labour Contract. Call 
to military service or to service in the National Militia shall 
not be grounds of discharge. 

19. Breaches of discipline or the performance of acts which 
disturb the normal working of the enterprise on the part of 
the workers shall be punished, according to the gravity of 
the offence, by fine, suspension from work, or in certain cases 
of gravity by immediate discharge without indemnity. 

The cases when the employer can impose fines, suspension 



from work or immediate discharge without payment of 
indemnity shall be specified. 

20. A worker on taking up a new post must go through 
a period of approval ; both parties have a right to the can- 
cellation of the contract merely by payment of the wage or 
salary in respect of the time during which the worker was 
actually employed. 

2 1 . The privileges and control of Collective Labour Con- 
tracts extend also to home workers. Special rules shall be 
issued by the State in order to ensure the control and 
hygiene of home work. 

22. The State alone can ascertain and control the pheno- 
menon of employment and unemployment of workers, which 
is a complex index of the conditions of production and work. 


23. Labour Employment Bureaus founded on a mutual 
basis are subjected to the control of the Corporative organs. 
Employers have the obligation to employ workers whose 
names are on the register of the said bureaus and have the 
right of choice among the names of those who are members 
of the Party and the Fascist Syndicates according to their 
seniority on the register. 

24. The professional Associations of workers are required 
to exercise a process of selection among the workers with the 
object of achieving continuous improvement in their tech- 
nical capacity and moral education. 

25. The Corporative organs shall ensure the observance of 
the laws on the prevention of accidents and the discipline 
of work on the part of individuals belonging to the Federated 


26. Providence is a further expression of the principle of 
collaboration, and the employer and the worker should both 
bear a proportional share of its burden. The State, through 
the medium of Corporative and Professional Associations, 

34 ^ 


shall see to the co-ordination and unity, as far as possible, 
of the system and Institutes of Providence. 

27. The Fascist State imdertakes : 

(i) the perfectioning of accident insurance ; 

{2) the improvement and extension of maternity 
assistance ; 

(3) insurance against industrial diseases and tuber- 

culosis as a step towards insurance against all 
forms of sickness ; 

(4) the perfectioning of insurance against involun- 

tary unemployment ; 

(5) the adoption of special forms of endowment 

insurance for young workers. 

28. The workers’ Associations are required to act as guar- 
dians of those they represent in administrative and judicial 
suits arising out of accident and social insurance. 

The Collective Labour Contracts shall establish, when this 
is technically possible, Mutual Sickness Funds, with contri- 
butions furnished by employers and workers, to be adminis- 
tered by representatives of both bodies, under the super- 
vision of the Corporative organs. 

20. The assistance of the individuals it represents, whether 
members or non-members, is a privilege and a duty of the 
professional Associations. The Associations must exercise 
directly by their own organs the functions of assistance and 
may not delegate them to other bodies or institutes except 
for purposes of a general nature transcending the interests 
of single categories of producers. 

30. The education and instruction, especially the pro- 
fessional instruction, of the individuals they represent is one 
of the principal duties of the professional Associations . These 
Associations are required to work side by side with the 
National Welfare Institution {Dopolavoro) and other educa- 
tional institutions. 

The Charter, as we have seen, provides for the 
Collective Labour Contracts. These are completed in 



agreement between employers and employees in the 
various categories of work, and they bring down to detail 
all the questions of hours, wages, holidays, indemnities, 
etc., envisaged in the Charter. The enactment relating 
to the Collective Labour Contracts also provides for 
the constitution of the Labour Courts to deal with 
collective labour disputes. The text points out that 
an attempt at conciliation must be made before judg- 
ment is passed. The sixteen Appeal Courts of Italy 
can function as Labour Courts, and in each of these 
courts a body of experts in the problems of production 
and labour is set up. Under certain circumstances 
the judgment of the Labour Court may be opposed by 
recourse to the Court of Cassation. Only legally 
recognised Associations may raise actions or be repre- 
sented in the Labour Courts and the judgments passed 
are valid for all in the category of work and district 

Thanks to these Contracts every workman knows 
exactly where he stands. For instance, if a man is 
wrongfully dismissed, he reports to his Syndicate : 
the Syndicate, if it cannot get redress direct, simply 
opens a lawsuit on the basis of the Collective Contract, 
and without delay, almost automatically, the plaintiff 
gets judgment for his indemnity with costs. 


The same enactment shows the legal position and 
sanctions with regard to strikes and lock-outs. The 
Articles dealing with these things read ; 

Strikes and lock-outs are illegal. 

Employers who without sufficient justification and for the 
sole object of obtaining from their employees a modification 
of the existing Labour Contracts suspend work in their estab- 



lishments, enterprises or offices, are punished by a fine rang- 
ing from ten thousand to one hundred thousand lire. 

Employees and workmen who to the number of three or 
more, after previous accord, leave off working, or do their 
work in a manner calculated to disturb its continuity and 
regularity, in order to obtain from their employers different 
contracts, are punished by a fine of one hundred to one 
thousand lire. The procedure shall be governed by articles 
298 and following of the Code of Penal Procedure. 

When the authors of the misdemeanour described in the 
preceding paragraphs are numerous, the leaders, promoters 
and organisers are punished by imprisonment for a period 
of not less than one year and of not more than two years, 
in addition to the fines laid down in the said paragraphs. 

Persons employed by the State or by other public bodies 
or by enterprises engaged in a public service or a service of 
public necessity who to the number of three or more, after 
previous accord, leave off working or do their work in a 
manner calculated to disturb its continuity or regularity, are 
punished by imprisonment in a special division [reclusione] 
for a period ranging from six months to two years ; in 
addition they shall be prohibited from holding any public 
office for a period of six months. The procedure shall be 
governed by articles 298 and following of the Code of Penal 

The leaders, promoters and organisers shall be punished 
by imprisonment in a special division [reclusione) for a period 
ranging from six months to two years ; in addition they shall 
be prohibited from holding any public office for a period of 
not less than three years. 

Persons engaged in public services or services of public 
necessity who leave off working in establishments, enterprises 
or offices without sufficient justification are punished by im- 
prisonment in a special division for a period ranging from 
six months to one year and by a fine ranging from five 
thousand to one hundred thousand lire ; in addition they 
shall be temporarily forbidden from holding any public 



If the action contemplated in the present Article results in 
danger to human life, the punishment of imprisonment shall 
be in a special division (reclusione) for a period not less than 
one year. If such action results in the death of one or more 
persons, the punishment of imprisonment shall be in a special 
division [reclusione] for a period of not less than three years. 

Persons employed by the State or by other public bodies, 
or persons engaged by enterprises engaged in public service 
or a service of public necessity, and their staffs, who on the 
occasion of strikes or lock-outs fail to do all in their power 
to bring about the regular continuation and resumption of 
a public service or of a service of public necessity shall be 
punished by imprisonment for a period ranging from one to 
six months. 

When the suspension of work on the part of employers or 
the abandonment or irregular performance of work on the 
part of workmen are for the purpose of putdng constraint 
on the will or of influencing the decision of an organ or body 
of the State, of the Provinces or of the Communes, or of a 
public official the leaders, promoters and organisers shall be 
punished by imprisonment in a special division (reclusione) 
for a period ranging from three to seven years ; in addition 
they shall be prohibited for life from holding any public 
office. For other persons the period of special imprisonment 
shall be from one to three years and such persons shall be 
temporarily prohibited from holding any public office. 

Without prejudice to the application of the ordinary rules 
of law on civil responsibility for non-fulfilment of a contract 
and on the execution of the sentences, employers and workers 
who refuse to cany out the decisions of the Labour Courts 
shall be punished by simple imprisonment for a period rang- 
ing from one month to one year in addition to a fine of one 
hundred to five thousand lire. 

The leaders of legally recognised unions who refuse to 
carry out the decisions of the Labour Court shall be punished 
by simple imprisonment for a period ranging from six months 
to two years and a fine of two thousand to ten thousand hre, 
in addition to deposition from their official position. 




The local Syndicates of Workers and their successive 
extensions in their categories become District Associa- 
tions, Provincial Federations and National Confedera- 
tions. There are seven National Confederations and 
they represent in their seven categories, the employees’ 
interests in (i) industry, (2) agriculture, (3) com- 
merce, (4) banking, (5) territorial communications, 
(6) air transport and (7) intellectual workers. The 
employers’ category units end in seven similar National 
Confederations — although the intellectual Confedera- 
tion is a more liquid unit, in which the demarcation 
line of employer and employed is often not easy to 

Across the category units of the employers and 
employees there cut the units of the Corporations. 
The Corporations are composed of seven sections cor- 
responding to the seven Confederations of Employers 
and the Confederations of Employees. The object of 
the Corporations is to co-ordinate and harmonise the 
productive possibilities of the nation, to secure the 
fullest co-operation between all classes, to settle dis- 
putes which affect national welfare and to promote 
the social, educational and physical well-being of the 
worker. As in the Syndical units so in the Corporations 
— employer and employee are on equal representative 
footing throughout. 

If we imagine the regional category units as perpen- 
dicular double-lines (employers and employees) rising 
from local Syndicate level and ending at National Con- 
federation heights, then we must picture the Corpora- 
tion units as horizontal lines traversing the category 
perpendiculars at every stage from local Syndical to 
^ 353 


National Confederations. It will be noted that the 
horizontal lines therefore make contact not only with 
employers and employees in each category, but that 
they also form a unifying band between all the cate- 
gories. By these contacts it is therefore possible for 
the Corporations to co-operate on questions of interest 
to employers and employees in any given category at 
any given territorial stage ; and it is also possible for 
the Corporations to make complete national-wide con- 
tacts as between employer and employee at any given 
territorial stage — in other words, keep in touch with 
totalised district, provincial and national production. 

The life force of the Syndical units is derived 
from the Labour Charter : syndical life therefore 
begins with the masses in their local category units 
and ascends finally to the National Confederations. 
The vital essence of the Corporations is derived from 
the Cabinet and the Capo del Governo : the Corpora- 
tive life therefore begins with the State and finally 
passes by these horizontal arteries into the masses. 

Deriving its policy from the Government and State 
through the Minister and Ministry of Corporations, 
the next Corporation organ is the National Council 
of Corporations, divided into sub-sections correspond- 
ing to the Confederation categories. An idea of the 
wide shce of Italian national life represented on this 
Council and its sub-sections may be got from a 
glance at its composition. It includes the Secretary of 
the Fascist party, the Ministers of Corporations, of 
Home Affairs, and of Agriculture, representatives 
of the Syndical Confederations of both employers and 
employees ; and at the general meetings of the Coun- 
cil there are delegates from the technical departments 
of aU the Ministries, representatives of Health and 


Recreation, ex-Servicetnen, War Wounded, institutions, 
and so on. This Council is in character deliberative, 
judicial and advisory and it issues rules and regulations 
for the co-ordination of ail the Syndical units’ collective 
activities. Provincial Corporative Councils carry the 
work to the Federation level. As a matter of fact it is 
at the Provincial Councils that the real work of econo- 
mic and social collaboration between employers and 
employees is done, and disputes settled. 

It can be said that this Fascist endeavour to con- 
struct a corporative syndicalist State represents one of 
the most complex social-economic experiments ever 
attempted on a national scale. It is exceeded in 
immensity but not in intricacy by the Soviet experi- 
ment, because the Italians have taken on the burden 
of reconciling all classes and interests in one smooth- 
running national machine. The work is as yet far 
from done. Of the seven category Corporations there 
is only one which is actually complete, but the Pro- 
vincial Corporative Councils, sub-sections of the Cor- 
porations and an executive Central Committee of 
Corporations fulfill the liaison collaborative func- 
tions of the not yet completed category Corporations 
with the National Confederations. Any employer 
who tries to over-ride the rights of an employee, or 
any workers who attempt to put class before country 
will rapidly discover that the Corporate State is not 
just a thing of paper. The most potent evidence of 
the practical, working efficiency of the system is 
contained in the fact that it enabled Italy, a rela- 
tively poor country, to weather the world crisis, 
and to place her on an exceptionally high level as a 
producing country, ready for the recovery of world 



Mussolini’s best known collaborators in building up 
the Corporate State were Giuseppe Bottai, a young 
Roman Fascist who organised the Ministry until 
Mussolini took over the portfolio himself in 1932 ; 
Edward Rossoni, a revolutionary Syndicalist who at 
one time was a labour agitator in America and who 
followed Mussolini at the war intervention campaign, 
becoming one of Mussolini’s first Fascists ; and Bruno 
Biagi, who has special social insurance theories. 

To any reader who wishes to make, in English, a 
complete and exhaustive examination of the Fascist 
trade-union system in all its complication of detail 
I recommend ‘‘ The Italian Corporative State ” by 
Dr. Fausto Pitigliani, published by P. S. King & Son, 
London. My chapter describes in essential outline 
the foundation and framework of the system, and 
shows it as part of the historical and political picture 
of Fascist Italy : Dr. Pitigliani’s book deals with the 
subject technically on a detached Syndical-Economic 

35 ^ 



Public Works. Coping Stones instead of Foundation Stones. Ten Tears' 
Work. Rural Policy. Mussolini on “ Back to the Land." Bonifica 
Integrale. Its aims and extent. Littoria. “ Battle of the Grain." 
1933 Victory. “ Battle of Agriculture." Moving to new Conquests. 

W HEN first drafting out the scheme and arrange- 
ment of these chapters I airily jotted down “ Pub- 
lic Works — 2000 words.’* That was an absent-minded 
piece of optimism ! A bare catalogue of the public 
works carried out during the past eleven years would 
more than exhaust the total of words which I have 
allowed myself ; a detailed and descriptive summary 
would fill a volume, with chapters on ports and har- 
bours ; hydraulics and electric power ; speedways 
and highways ; railroads and stations ; housing and 
hospitals ; land reclamation ; irrigation and canals ; 
archaeology and town planning ; schools and stad- 
iums ; Colonial development ; earthquake redemp- 
tion ; ex-soldiers and imemployed ; distribution of 
labour ; afforestation ; the “ battle of the grain ” ; 
finance ; and State grants and consortiums. 

The regime has accomplished so much under all 
these headings that it can be said to have changed the 
face of Italy. And yet it is not so much the things 
done as the fact that they have been done which iden- 
tifies this colossal work with the history of Fascism. 
Many of the schemes completed by the Fascist Govern- 
ment had been proposed, planned and in many cases 



partly carried out by former democratic-Liberal Gov- 
ernments. But this difference is to be noticed : the 
pre-Fascist schemes were hindered in their execution by 
the rise and fall of Governments because, as we have 
seen in the earlier chapters of this book, there was still 
regional rivalry and also a general range of rivalry 
between industry and agriculture, North and South, 
These rivalries found their best means of competitive 
action through the political machine. As a result the 
desks of Italian engineers and the archives of the Office 
of Public Works were fiUed with sound schemes, 
approved by one Government but kiboshed by an- 
other. In consequence Italy was strewn with partially 
completed improvements ; there was no balance of 
progress as between North and South ; and the country 

The first indication that the epoch of “ unfinished 
beginnings ” was over and done with was an order by 
Mussolini abolishing “ fotmdation-stone ” ceremonies. 
In substitution he introduced a “ coping-stone ” ritual. 
This rite is performed all over Italy on each April 21 
— the day on which is commemorated Italian Labour 
Day, the Birth of Rome and the Fascist Levy. The 
association of the ideas of all three commemorations 
is introduced into the coping-stone rite, thus sym- 
bolically linking the accomplishment of the present 
in a continuity of thought with the past and with the 
future. It also provides a yearly date towards which 
every work, either in whole or in defined stages, is 
pressed to completion, thus creating a national rhythm 
of endeavour and accomplishment. 

In his speech on the 1933-4 Budget estimates, 
the Minister of Public Works gave some figures on 
what had been done during the first ten years of 



Fascist rule. He said that during that period over 
1 8,000,000,000 lire had been devoted to such works. 
At the end of 19212 the electric plants of all Italy had 
a total horsepower of 1,250,000. There was now 
(October 23, 1932) 5,500,000 horsepower ; and 
the annual output of electricity had risen from 
3,652,200,000 kilowatt-hours to 9,665,000,000. The 
length of high-tension lines had passed from 16,000 to 
25,500 kilometres, and the number of water-power 
reservoirs risen from 54. with a capacity of 142,000,000 
cubic metres, to 184 with a capacity of 1,544,000,000 
cubic metres. Special concentration on hydro-electric 
and thermo-electric plants, artificial lakes and power 
distribution is subventioned to about 100,000,000 
lire per annum. In return — Italy having no coal in 
her soil — the great expense of coal importation is being 
steadily reduced. 

Eleven thousand kilometres of roadway, the Minister 
announced, had been reconditioned and fifty per cent 
of the roads of all Italy had been systematised. Six 
thousand kilometres of new roads had been constructed, 
including 436 kilometres oi autostrade motor speedways. 
Five hundred and seventeen kilometres of new railroad 
had been laid down and 566 kilometres were under 
construction, i ,61 7,000,000 lire had been spent on the 
complete modernisation of 82 ports and on preserving 
beaches and harbours in 15 Provinces. Two hundred 
public buildings had been erected, exclusive of those 
destroyed by earthquakes — ^in which latter regard 
94 public buildings, 3131 working-class houses with 
lodgings for 17,000 people had been put up. Eleven 
thousand new schools had been built in 2764 Com- 
munes in every part of the land, but specially in the 
ill-suppUed South. In housing, 6000 tenement palazzi 



had been erected, containing 50,000 flats with a total 
of 193,000 living rooms. 2193 Communes with a total 
population of over ten million had been provided 
with water by the engineering of new aqueducts at a 
cost of more than 1,000,000,000 lire. Innumerable 
minor works for the improvement of communal 
hygiene had been carried out. 

The plans developed as from October 1932 are said 
to assure 25 million working days ; and the 1933-4 
estimates earmark 1,350,000 lire for the continuation 
of public works all over Italy. The official total of 
unemployed in Italy at the beginning of October, 
19335 was 800,740. 

The above data does not include extensive works 
carried out in Tripolitania and elsewhere in the 
Italian colonies. Ten years ago it was dangerous to 
go unescorted beyond the suburbs of Tripoli on to the 
encroaching desert dunes. Today there are roads as 
straight as Roman swords radiating into the desert 
zones where land reclamation is developed in peace 
and security no matter how distant from the shelter 
of Tripoli. 

Despite the varied regional and category develop- 
ments indicated by the above general survey of work 
accomplished, Mussolini, in conformity with his doc- 
trinal principles, considers public works as one great 
xmdertaking. And that great undertaking he directs 
according to one great internal policy. And that 
great internal policy in turn is based on his conviction 
that the strength of a nation rests on agriculture. He 
is leading Italy “ back to the land.” This does 
not, however, mean only leading the nation back 
to agriculture. It means developing a strong rural 
State, inhabited by a healthy and contented rural 


All idillic Msion of 'iQ^icultiiri.l present dT.\ and tndiiioxial 


populace, producing enough grain for the nation’s 

Mussolini’s speeches are full of references to the 
ruralisation of Italy : 

“ To increase the fruitfulness of Italian soil as much as 
possible, to elevate the condition of the millions and millions 
of countryfolk who work with such sacred tenacity, — there 
you have one of the fundamental aims of the Fascist regime.” 

“ The wealth of Italy, the stability of the nation and its 
future are intimately bound up with the future of Italian 

“ The real fount, the real origin, of all human activity is 
the earth.” 

“ Only a great agricultural Italy will allow the develop- 
ment of a great industrial Italy.” 

“ Industrial concentration in cities leads to the sterility of 
the population. Monstrous cities with their geometrical 
development end up by making a desert all around them ; 
and in the desert life dies.” 

“ The country people — the glorious infantry of the War 
and of the Revolution — will also be the victors in the 
Battle of the Land, which is the battle for the richness of 

“ The struggle is one for real liberty, — the liberation of the 
nation from foreign economic servitude.” 

“ I say unto you, O peasants and men of the land, you 
are specially near to my spirit.” 

“ This old land of Italy can give bread to her sons today 
and tomorrow, when once man knows how to harmonise these 
elements, — the sun, water, work and science. The hydraulic, 
agrarian and sanitary transformation of a region is a long 
job which demands the most generous force and labour of 
the Government.” 

One could go on quoting such phrases for pages on 

The principal vehicle for this ruralisation policy is 
the Bonifica Integrale — Integral Land Reclamation. It 



is called integral because it differs from earlier land 
reclamation schemes in that it encompasses the settle- 
ment of colonies on the reclaimed land, with the eleva- 
tion of new townships and parishes, the marketing as 
well as the cultivation of the crops, the integration of 
the new communities into the social and economic 
life of the province and the nation, the amelioration 
of unemployment, the development of “ internal emi- 
gration ” of workers from zone to zone, the settlement 
of ex-Servicemen on land grants, the intensive increase 
of grain production up to national self-sufficiency and 
the co-ordination of all public works towards these 
various ends, plus the inclusion of the Corporative 
mechanism and all the social, recreational, demo- 
graphic, religious and general welfare institutions and 
ideas of Fascism. So you can understand how I feel 
about trying to compress an adequate picture of this 
into the compass of a chapter ! 

The Bonifica Integrals operates among the rocky hills 
of the new Alpine provinces, among the waterless 
stretches of south-central Italy, among the once waste- 
lands of Sardinia, among the dank acreage of the 
Pontine and other marshes — everywhere. 

It was only in July 1928 that the laws for the 
Bonifica Integrals were formulated and it was not 
until July 1929 that they were put in operation. In 
September 1929 a Bonifica Integrals Under-Secretary 
portfolio was created in the Ministry of Agriculture 
with liaisons with the Ministries of Public Works and, 
later, of Corporations. The work now in hand ranges 
over an area which totals over seven-and-a-half million 
acres. To public funds are added private consortiums 
with State guarantees. The most conspicuous success 
is that of the Pontine Marshes whose reclamation has 


baffled engineers from the times of Imperial Rome. 
The first victory in the war against nature in this zone 
was signalised by the institution of the town of Littoria, 
which is a reasonably flourishing township of ex- 
Servicemen and their families drawn from all parts of 
Italy. Laid out as a Roman quadrata, it proudly stands 
as a new town, the centre and capital of a new 
Commune, amid a network of roads and irrigation 
canals, overlooking cultivated fields in a region which 
less than seven years ago was a pestiferous, malarial 
swamp, haunted by fever-stricken wraiths of neglected 
humanity. A new town and Commune, Sabaudia, is 
now under course of construction and on September 
1933 the Government appointed a special Commissary 
in charge of preparing the eventual total recovery of 
this notorious Agro Pontino. 

Accompanying the Bonifea Integrale is, as I have 
said, the work of raising enough grain for Italy’s 
internal needs. This “ Battle of the Grain ” had its 
zero hour in June 1925. Italy’s requirements amount 
to about 75 million quintals of grain. Of this total 
Italy produced 44 million in 1922, importing the 
balance. In 1925, when the “ Battle ” started, it im- 
ported 65^ million. The 1932 crop marked a victori- 
ous conclusion with 75,151,000 quintals. This general 
increase of production has been accompanied by a 
general all-round agricultural increase. In May 1933 
it was announced that the ” Battle of the Grain ” was 
to be transformed into “ The Integral Battle of 
Agriculture.” Fascist Italy has accordingly moved to 
the assault of the second line of trenches in its great 
war for the ruralisation of Italy. 

3 % 


Rome of the Militia. A Check on Secret Societies. Provincial Control. 
Fuorusciii. Defence of the State Tribunal. New Penal Code. Press 
Laws Curbing Opposition. Liberty of the Press. Mussolini's Views — 
Fascist Journalism. Its Opportunities. 

I N the vast bulk of Fascist legislation there are a 
number of juridical measures and State provisions 
which can be considered as one group with a character 
clearly defined as protective. These laws guarantee 
the free development of the Fascist Revolution against 
all efforts which might be made, inside or outside the 
State, to frustrate either the material or spiritual ends 
of the regime. These measures are as follows : 

(i) Laws constituting the Blackshirt Militia, whose 
formal title is the Volunteer Militia for 
National Security, and generally known by 
their initials M.V.S.N, 

(2) The Law against secret societies. 

(3) Laws for the organisation and control of Govern- 
ment servants. 

(4) Laws against the fuorusciii (political exiles). 

(5) Laws constituting the Special Defence of the 
State Tribunal and the new Penal Code. 

(6) Public safety laws. 

(7) Press laws. 

National Militia. The National Militia, accord- 
ing to the decree of August 4, 1924, forms part of the 



armed forces of the State. Its members swear fidelity 
to the Duce and to the King. The Duce of Fascismo 
is the Duce of the Militia. All ranks are inscribed 
members of the Party. This force has very varied 

It has political duties which may be defined as 
work in co-operation with the poHtical and general 
departments of the police, and special detachments 
for frontier duties. 

It has “ military educative duties.” This consists 
of training and instructing the Balilla and Avanguard- 
isti, and the University Student Fascists — the three 
units from which with the passage of time the ranks of 
the National Militia are recruited. No direct recruits 
are now taken for service in the National Militia with- 
out having passed through some of the above channels. 
The Militia also gives pre-military instruction to its 
members. This means that thousands of young men 
are already trained in the elements of soldiering before 
they are called on to serve their period of training with 
the regular army in course of the conscription levies. 

It has direct military duties. These consist of 
Blackshirt infantry battalions and cycle corps, terri- 
torial anti-aircraft defence and permanent Blackshirt 
Legions who operate in the colonial areas of Tripoli- 
tania. The infantry battalions include ” shock troop 
units ” which are distributed among the divisions of 
the Italian regular army. 

It has detachments for “ special duty.” For this 
special work there are distinct branches devoted to 
the Forest services which includes preservation of wood- 
lands and gamekeepers’ duties ; Railway Militia for 
the maintenance of communications, and of order on 
board trains ; Dockyard Militia, Post Office Militia 



and Highway Militia, the last of which performs duties 
similar to those of the motor-traffic police in other 
countries. In keeping with the classical spirit of the 
Revolution, the old Roman nomenclature of legions, 
cohorts and centurions is used. The whole body or 
any section of it can be mobilised : to maintain public 
order ; for reviews or parades ; for instructive pur- 
poses at the manoeuvres, games and exercises of the 
Balilla and Avanguardisti ; in cases of public calamity 
to lend aid ; and in the event of calamities following 
volcanic eruptions, to organise the hygienic and general 
succour to the population in the stricken zone. 

The “ Golden Book ” of the Militia bears ample 
testimony of the prompt and willing assistance which 
it has given on many occasions in coming with well- 
organised efficiency to the help of the people. Not 
only has this spirit of giving organised help been 
awakened, but the readiness to make individual sacri- 
fice in coming to the assistance of others is shown in 
the frequent accounts of acts involving the saving of 
life by Militiamen and Avanguardisti and Balilla. 

The Militia, in short, guarantees the operation of all 
public services. This is now a peaceful continuation 
of the work which, as we have seen in the earlier sec- 
tions of this volume, was performed against heavy 
odds when the country was in the grip of subversive 

Secret Societies. The law against secret societies 
regulates the activities of all associations and institutes 
in such a way that their constitutions, statutes, rules 
and regulations, list of membership, committees, and 
all other information about their organisation, aims 
and activities, must be communicated to the police 
authorities. As the existence of any political non- 


Fascist active institution is prohibited, this law ensures 
complete Government control over assembled associa- 
tions. The failure of any institution to register its 
particulars as above noted puts itself automatically 
outside the law. All institutions depending from the 
State, provincial or local services must and can only be 
developed under the tutelage of the authorities. Any 
possible infiltration of masonic or other notions is by 
these means immediately recognised and rigorously 

General Control. The administrative machine 
is such that complete control is exercised over the 
remotest areas of the peninsula. With powers which 
emanate from the central State authority the pivot 
man in the Provinces is the Prefect. There is no elec- 
tive provincial council. All affairs are in the hands of 
officials appointed by the Government, by the Party, 
or by the Prefect. In fact the Prefect is a vice-Capo 
del GovernO) and is appointed by Royal Decree through 
the Home Office. He is responsible directly to Musso- 
lini, and his influence on the political and military life 
of his provincial area is profound. When Mussolini 
wishes to impress any warning or to give any special 
praise, or wishes to have special knowledge of the spirit 
existing in any Province of the kingdom, it is through 
the Prefects that he makes his contacts. The average 
population of a Province numbers about 500,000 souls. 

Below the Province comes the Commune, which may 
be either a rural area or a city or a town — a town 
Commune of over 10,000 inhabitants and equipped with 
all public services being designated Cittd. The whole 
system of a locally elected council and mayor {Sindaco) 
has been substituted by the office of Podestd — a medi- 
aeval term of local dictatorship. In his person the 



Podestd combines the powers of the earlier Sindaco and 
council put together. The Podestd is nominated by 
Royal Decree through the provincial Prefect or through 
the Home Office according to the importance of his 
charge. In large cities the Podestd may be assisted by 
a ConsuUa which is appointed by the Central Govern- 
ment. In the case of Naples and a few other great 
centres there are variations to the actual title given to 
the ConsuUa of a community, but the system of cen- 
tralised control from Rome is the same. The city of 
Rome, as the capital of Italy, is under a Govematorato 
whose office is national. 

I have included this administrative network of the 
regime under the general heading of Self-Protection, 
but in this instance it is not alone for the protection 
of the State or for the control of the people that the 
administration is so organised. It is also in order that 
the spirit of the Revolution, as maintained by its cen- 
tral authorities, should have a channel for spreading 
its intentions, wishes and dictates. 

Fuorusciti. According to the Fuorusciti Law of 
31st January, 1926, any citizen who commits, or aids 
and abets the commission of deeds abroad directed 
towards disturbing public order in the kingdom of 
Italy loses his citizenship. By the same law a citizen 
abroad also forfeits his citizenship if he works to the 
damage of Italian interests or besmirches the good 
name and prestige of Italy, even if his behaviour does 
not constitute an actual crime. The procedure for 
declaring anyone d.fuoruscito is carried out by a com- 
mission composed of magistrates specially convened 
by the Home Office in concert with the Ministry of 
Foreign Affairs. To the loss of citizenship sequestra- 
tion and confiscation of property can be added. This 


is done in such manner as not to damage the present 
or heritable interests of innocent members of the 
family who may be still in Italy or abroad. 

Defence of the State Tribunal. The Defence of 
the State Tribunal is a species of court-martial. 
General Officers of the Army, Navy, Air Force and 
National Militia can be called on to form part of the 
Court, which in general is composed of five judges 
selected from the Consuls (colonels) of the Militia. 
This tribunal exercises the power of giving the death 
penalty, and sentences up to thirty years’ imprison- 
ment. The death sentence is pronounced for : 

(1) Attempts against the life, the integrity and the per- 
sonal liberty of the King, the Regent, the Queen, the Crown 
Prince and the Capa del Gaverno. 

(2) Attempts against the independence and unity of the 

(3) The violation of secrets concerning the security of the 

(4) Attempts against internal peace (armed revolt, civil 
war, sabotage and looting). 

On its ordinary civil and criminal side the whole 
Penal Code of Italy has been reformed in keeping 
with the Fascist doctrine of the supremacy of the State 
over the individual. The death sentence has also 
been reintroduced for common crimes of a murderous 

The reform was developed by Signor Rocco and is 
based on the principles of the late Professor Enrico 
Ferri, one of the original exponents of the positive 
school of criminology. The personality of the prisoner 
is considered along with his crime, together with the 
psychic and moral atmosphere surrounding the crime. 
It allows the judge a wider scope in applying punish- 
3 A g 6 g 


ment ; and that punishment is regulated on a reforma- 
tory basis according to the individual. Solitary confine- 
ment has been abolished. In prison educative labour 
has been introduced by which the prisoner pays partly 
for his own maintenance. His pay is regulated by the 
Syndicates in order to avoid competition with free 
labour. The wages of the prisoner are divided into 
three parts — one-third goes to the State, one-third to 
the victim of his crime and one-third to the prisoner 
on his release. The jury system has been modified into 
a jury of experts. 

The following seven principles are embodied in the 
new Penal Code, which, after seven years of labour, 
constitutes one of the greatest reforms ever made in 
the Italian juridical school : 

To overcome in the practical field the difierences between 
the classical and the anthropological schools of criminology. 

To strengthen punishments for graver crimes where the 
pre-Fascist code was considered inadequate. 

To safeguard the State more efficiently at home, abroad, 
and internationally ; to punish crimes against the Father- 
land in accordance with Fascist social conceptions. 

To safeguard the family and public morals. 

To safeguard the integrity and future of the race. 

To protect religious sentiments, especially those of the 
Catholic cult. 

To effect public economy by a simplification of local pro- 

Press Laws. The Press in Fascist Italy is circum- 
scribed by legislative provisions calculated to “ re- 
conduct it within its just limits of liberty, and to guar- 
antee the State against possible aggression through it, 
to restore journalism to its national educative func- 
tions and to make it responsible in a penal, financial 
and political sense for its own actions.” The exercise 



of governmental control over the Press is carried out in 
four ways : 

First : The Prefects have the power of preventive 
sequestration of newspapers, reviews, etc,, which they 
may consider damaging or dangerous for public order 
or public morality. The general kind of material 
which leads to the sequestration of newspapers and the 
possible punishment of those responsible for their 
publication is officially defined as follows : 

“ False or tendentious news wloich hinders the 
diplomatic action of the Government in its foreign 
relations, or damages national credit at home or 
abroad ; or causes unjustified alarm in the popula- 
tion ; or arouses disturbances of public order in what- 
soever manner. Articles, comments, notes, headlines, 
illustrations and sketches which excite the commission 
of crime ; or cause hatred or disobedience of the laws 
or of the orders of the authorities ; or cause disturb- 
ance to the discipline of those attached to a public 
service ; or favour the interests of foreign States, or 
foreign public or private aims to the damage of Italian 
interests ; or which vilify the Fatherland, the King, 
the Royal Family, the Pontiff, or the religion and in- 
stitutions of the State and of friendly Powers.” 

Copies of the newspapers are seen by the Prefect 
previous to or as soon as issued from the presses and 
their withdrawal from sale before widespread distribu- 
tion mitigates the offence in minor cases. After a cer- 
tain number of sequestrations the journal is liable to 
be closed altogether. 

Second ; Measures for fixing the political, material 
and financial responsibility of the newspapers on to 
the actual editor of the paper and not on to a “ man 
of straw.” 

37 ^ 


Third : Reinforcement of newspaper guarantees 
concerning financial stability and sense of responsi- 

And fourth : The creation of a professional status 
and spirit among journalists by means of a Professional 
Roll. Only those inscribed in this roll are allowed to 
exercise the profession of journalism. 

Those who are on the roll enjoy protection and 
privileges affecting conditions of work, pensions and 
rights unequalled by any other body of journalists the 
world over. 

It will be noticed that these measures, looked at as 
a means of protecting the regime, place a formid- 
able penal barrier against any violent insurrectional 
attempt to overthrow the Government. The heavy 
sentences which the Fascist courts can, and do, inflict 
are — in accordance with the principles of the reformed 
Code — not mechanically regulated as given punish- 
ments to flit given crimes ; but vary in accordance 
with (i) the political circumstances surrounding the 
case, (2) the intentions, character or opportunities of 
the accused person, (3) the effect, actual or potential, 
which the commission of the crime has or might have 
on the smooth running of the Party machine in its task 
of guaranteeing the undisturbed political, moral and 
productive life of Italy. 

The Party, regime and State form an inseparable 
trinity which is held sacred. All its measures are 
accepted as beneficent, axiomatically. Those who 
oppose the measures therefore place themselves out- 
side the pale of pure reason, presumably. 

Opposition may not necessarily be insurrectional. 
It may be merely critical in a theoretically destructive 



sense. The danger of such a thing is checked before 
development. The laws to prevent “ secret societies,” 
as will be seen from the wording of the Act quoted 
above, really prevent the formation of any unregistered 
club or institution with an undeclared membership 
and programme. This successfully truncates any 
collective criticism outside the bosom of the Party 
councils, while the Prefecture system, backed by the 
special police, by the National Militia and by the 
secret OVRA informers, make a network of observation 
and control well equipped speedily to discover indivi- 
dual murmurers or covert opponents. 

As for the Press — it performs a function totally 
different to that which it exercises in other cmmtries, 
with the exception of National-Socialist Germany and, 
to a certain extent, Turkey and Russia. The Soviet 
Press does on occasion publish self-devastating criti- 
cism and facts on internal administrative affairs and 
officials — the Central Government using such informa- 
tion, plus public feeling aroused, as a point of depar- 
ture for enquiry and action. In Italy the Press is 
a systematised vehicle of Government propaganda. 
Journalism in Italy is not a profession : it is, we are 
told, a “ mission.” Every journalist is presumed to 
do his work with a consuming passions ” which dis- 
places all ordinary newspaper conceptions of “ news 

In answer to the accusation that Fascism has 
smothered the “ freedom of the Press,” Mussolini has 
replied by asserting that “ the Italian Press is the 
freest in the whole world.” In support of this he says, 
“ Newspapers elsewhere are under the order of pluto- 
cratic groups, of parties and of individuals ; news- 
papers elsewhere are reduced to the wretched job of 



marketing exciting news, the continued reading of 
which ends by causing a kind of drug saturation on the 
public, with symptoms of debility and imbecility ; news- 
papers elsewhere are grouped in the hands of a very 
few individuals who look on a newspaper as nothing 
but an industry, like the steel or leather industry.” 

Having thus dismissed the foreign Press, Mussolini 
in his declaration turned again to Itahan journalism, 
which he declared to be free “ because it serves only 
one cause and one regime ; because, within the ambit 
of the laws of the regime, it can exercise and exercises 
functions of control, criticism and propulsion.” 
‘Mussohni then hkened the Fascist Press to an 
orchestra : “I consider Italian Fascist journalism as 
an orchestra. The ‘ keynote ’ is common. And this 
keynote is not given by the Government through its 
Press offices. It is soimded by Fascist journalism it- 
self. But given the keynote, there is a diversity of in- 
struments. Every newspaper ought to become a 
definite instrument, individualised and recognisable in 
the great orchestra.” 

Crime features, Italian scandals (Fascist or other- 
wise) " human interest ” stories, suicides and gossip, 
except in rare cases, have a very minor place in the 
Italian Press, when given at all. 

On the other hand competition has been crippled 
and it is seldom that a paper goes out of its routine 
way to indulge in any enterprise to make its pages 
more readable. Save for feuilleton articles and parish 
news, every paper is the same. No risks are taken with 
the “ keynote.” The newspapers of modern Italy 
resolve themselves into a daily propaganda organ for 
the praise of Fascism and all its doings ; for the ex- 
altation of Italian achievement, individual or national; 


for eulogies on Mussolini ; for carefully timed and 
regulated bursts of more or less violent criticism 
against outsiders who may fall foul of Fascist views ; 
for denunciations of foreign newspapers when they 
say hostile things and copious quotations from foreign 
newspapers, however obscure, when they say pleasing 
things. Every paper appears to be a free pool into 
which its neighbours can dip, as the same news item 
may be followed unchanged as it is “ lifted ” from one 
paper to another. Descriptions of Party ceremonies 
with full lists of the names of “ those present ” fill the 
principal pages. And with an unfailing regularity, 
which reveals either a most remarkable universal con- 
science or else the unsleeping surveillance of the 
Government Press Bureaus, the same selection of 
Fascist news has each day the same place of honour on 
the front page of every newspaper, with the result that 
one paper resembles another like different editions of 
a hymnal. 

All this shows that it is necessary to recognise that 
the Italian Press must be considered in relation to its 
own special criteria. It is an organ of the State, dedi- 
cated to the regime. To be appreciated at its inten- 
tional value it has to be looked at in the light of 
the “ doctrines ” already elucidated. It will then be 
realised that the Press in Italy has theories of patriotic 
service which, in the hands of imaginative men with 
a knowledge of the world and its ways, could transcend 
journalism. The Fascist Press has unplumbed oppor- 
tunities of world leadership. At the present time it is 
dedicating itself to the blatant pumping of a sense of 
national pride into “ the man in the street.” 



Unity of Command. Military and Political Co-ordination. Organisa- 
tion of the Country for War. Civil Mobilisation. Army Reform. RSle 
of the Blackshirt Militia. Navy Reform. Mobility and Speed. Rise of 
the Air Force. Civil Aviation. Aviation Records. The Agents of 
Reconstruction. Balbo's Work and Theories. New-found Prestige. 

T he fighting strength of the Italian nation has been 
revolutionised by Mussolini. He has seen to it 
that the conditions against which Italy had to contend 
during the last war will not be repeated. Apart from 
a complete reorganisation of the three forces— army, 
navy and air — his reconstruction has been such that 
(i) there can no longer be any conflict between 
political leaders and army leaders, (2) there can be no 
waste of man-power through skilled artisans serving in 
the trenches while shirkers escape into “ cooshy ” 
jobs, (3) there can be no detachment of service in time 
of war as between the fighting forces and the rest of 
the nation. Civilians as well as soldiers will be mobil- 
ised, and each individual has his or her allotted place 
in an united effort, and (4) through an exaltation of 
patriotic and civil service the moral and the physique 
of the army is no longer imperilled by the bureau- 
cratic mechanism and routine indifference which was 
hitherto characteristic of conscript troops. 

Formerly the Chief of Staff of the army in peace 
time became the Commander-in-Chief in war time. 
Mussolini has created an office senior to that of Chief 
of Staff. This is the office of the Chief of General Staff— 
37 ^ 


and the officer holding this position is responsible 
solely and directly to the Capo del Governo. Under 
the control of the Chief of General Staff are three Chiefs 
of Staff for the three forces of land, sea and air. This 
system, while giving to each of these forces autonomy 
of command, links them together under a supreme 
command, above whom is only the Capo del Governo. 
In this way the political power of the nation, personi- 
fied in the Capo del Governo, who is cognisant of the 
international and internal situation of the country, is 
co-ordinated with the fighting forces, so that all con- 
flicts between political and military policies are 

The Chief of the General Staff, under the direction 
and in harmony with the Capo del Governo, prepares 
the fighting forces for their work, but always utilising 
the consultative and technical functions of the Ministry 
of War and the Army Council. The Minister of War 
presides over the Army Council, which is otherwise 
composed of the Chiefs of Staff, or one of them acting 
for aU, and Army Corps or Divisional Commanders, 
selected each year in rotation. In time of war the 
Army Council ceases to function and all powers and 
responsibilities are assumed by the Gommander-in- 

But this reform for unifying in harmony the head of 
the Government and the head of the Army does not 
complete Mussolini’s conception of military co-ordina- 
tion, His aim has been also to harmonise all the com- 
plicated aspects and problems of a nation at war. He 
has recognised that nowadays it is not alone armies 
and fleets which fight, but everyone — workmen, 
women, scientists, artisans, bankers, farmers, railway- 
men, in short aU classes and all categories. To co- 



ordinate all these activities there has been created a 
Supreme Mixed Commission of Defence which has 
deliberative and consultative committees. The delib- 
erative committee under the chairmanship of the Capo 
del Governo, in his capacity of Prime Minister, consists 
of nine Ministers — Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs, Fin- 
ance, War, Colonies, Navy, Air, Communications and 
National Economy. The Consultative Committee in- 
cludes representatives of the armed forces and of all the 
productive forces of the nation, namely, the Army, 
Navy, and Air Councils and the Committee of National 

This last-named committee is composed of the 
Chiefs of Staff, the General Manager of the Banca 
d' Italia and high representatives of Railways, Mercan- 
tile Marine, and technical, agricultural, economic and 
cultural associations, which are in turn linked into 
the Corporative system. The Committee of National 
Mobilisation is the hierarchy for putting into practice 
the Law for the Organisation of the Nation for War. 

The link with the Corporative system automatically 
causes contact with the Party elements which are dove- 
tailed into the Syndicates ; and by means of the system 
the value and potentialities of every man in Italy as a 
combative unit can be gauged, and no doubt is 
gauged. It is one of the duties of the Prefect to know 
these classifications within his Province. Accordingly, 
when a state of war is declared, the mobilisation of the 
fighting forces is accompanied by a mobilisation of the 
civil population in accordance with the 1925 Law on 
the Organisation of the Nation for War. By this law 
all citizens, irrespective of position, sex or physique, 
are obliged to answer the call and give their aid for the 
“ moral and material defence of the nation.” The 



text of this bill, not presented to the Chamber until 
1931, shows that all citizens not liable to military ser- 
vice from the ages of sixteen to seventy, including 
women, are under the obligation “ to contribute to the 
defence and resistance of the nation with the same 
spirit and devotion and sacrifice as the fighting men.” 
They should all obey the orders given them by the 
local authorities and by special Committees of Civil 
Resistance to be set up in the various provincial centres, 
and should at the same time abstain from any act 
which might minimise the country’s war effort and 
reduce expenditure and consumption to the narrowest 
limits. This civil mobilisation is to follow immediately 
any order of general mobilisation. Unjustified or dis- 
obedient abandonment of work or breach of discipline 
on the part of the persons so mobilised will be con- 
sidered as desertion in time of war and dealt with as 
such. The place and duty of every man and woman 
is known — be it in the army, in a factory, in clerical, 
farming, hospital, transport work or in munitions, etc., 
and Prefects are invested with rights to co-operate with 
the Army and Government to see that everyone is 
allocated according to book. State supervision over 
the Corporations ensures that the full productive 
possibilities of the country are diverted to the needs 
of war andtthat capitalists do not corner material at 
the expense of the nation nor that employees extort 
wages incommensurate with the standards of what is 
received by the soldiers exposed to the perils of combat. 

Under Mussolini the Army is given a high and hon- 
oured place ; its traditions and glories restored and 
extolled ; all partisan tendencies are eliminated ; and 
the F ascist p arty is its champion. Of the Army Musso- 
lini has said : “ The Army is the sure and unbreakable 



guarantee of the destinies of the Fatherland,” and 
“For this, I insist that the Army be faithful to its in- 
corruptible traditions, which have the following main 
points ; rigorous abstention from all political activity, 
open or hidden ; a high sense of duty and an iron dis- 
cipline ; cordial relations with the other armed forces 
of the State ; and, above all, absolute dedication to 
King and Country.” 

Under Fascism the duration of military service 
(technically) is from twenty-one years old, instead of 
twenty as under the former regimes, until fifty-five, 
instead of fifty. This allows an extra year for that pre- 
military training which the Blackshirts have perfected 
for the building up of the individual moral ; and it 
also gives an extra five years (again of course techni- 
cally) towards the end of a man’s physical fitness, which 
facilitates the disciplinary aspect of the civic mobilisa- 
tion law above mentioned. The actual time served 
with the colours is eighteen months, but for reasons of 
national finance and for other reasons of internal 
economy and foreign policy only a relatively small 
proportion of the citizens serve the full eighteen months’ 
period. Many serve only nine, six or three months — 
the last being practically equivalent to exemption. 
The annual levy of men who have reached twenty-one 
years of age therefore varies ; the figure is round about 
200,000 men. 

The pre-military training, on a volunteer basis, 
begins with the children’s and youths’ organisations — 
the Balilla, Avanguardisti, etc., which will be duly 
described — so that the army recruits, or a large per- 
centage of them, answer their call to the colours, not 
as presumably unwilling conscripts, but as men fully 
cognisant of the patriotic implication of their enforced 


service. The University Fascist corps do the same sort 
of work for the officer classes. In short the volunteer 
spirit is superimposed on a conscript army. The idea 
of identifying the Fascist Revolution with the resusci- 
tation of the glories of the Regular Army and the 
elimination of the danger of any breach between the 
Regular Army and the Revolution forces, is provided 
for by the employment of Great War veterans as in- 
structors in both units and by the incorporation of 
Blackshirt Militia. In every Army Infantry Brigade 
there is a battalion of Fascist Militia as shock troops. 
In the event of war the Fascist Militia as a whole 
would be employed as shock troops, alongside the 
regular troops, as anti-aircraft units and as a force to 
ensure the smooth running of internal services. 

The Italian Regular Army being an army based on 
universal conscription, it will be seen that the fact of a 
National Militia cannot add to its potential numbers. 
It adds instead — or at least such is the profession — to 
its efficiency and spirit. 

The organic aim in the new army is mobility and 
elasticity. For reasons of cash and terrain, mechanisa- 
tion in its heavier forms is not encouraged, but speedy 
means of transport and concentration are developed to 
the utmost. 

The Army, being levied from all parts of Italy, is also 
used as a vehicle for mixing up men from north and 
south and for letting men from every province know 
the Italy of some other province — one of the methods 
for cancelling the last traces of the complicated inheri- 
tance described in the earlier chapters of this book. 

The only other armed national unit is the Royal 
Regiment of Carabinieri, the highest disciplined and 
finest body of men in the larger forces of Italy. The 



Carabinieri^ — ^whose uniform with its three-cornered 
hat and cut-away blue tunic with red pipings is 
familiar to every visitor to Italy — have always stood 
outside Party strife. The duties of this corps may be 
likened to that of the Federal Police in America, save 
that it is decentralised and its patrol-men are on duty 
in every street throughout the kingdom. During the 
difficult times of 1919 onwards this unit remained 
sternly neutral as between the confficting non-Govern- 
ment forces, and today it serves the Fascist regime 
with all the traditional fidelity which marked its service 
in other times. 

The Navy has received the particular attention of 
the Fascist Government. The pre- military organisa- 
tions of the Militia include naval detachments in 
which the traditions of the sea are exploited for the 
efficiency of the modern “ sea-mindedness” of the 
rising generations and the “ future glories ” of the 
Navy and the nation. 

On its material side the Navy has been also reorgan- 
ised in accordance with new strategical and tactical 
principles and within the limits of restricted finance. 
Battleships of the former 22,000 tons type have been 
cancelled from the building programmes, and old 
battleships have been scrapped, together with all craft 
the least out of date. The heaviest unit in the reformed 
navy is 10,000 tons. Lightness, speed, quick striking 
power, up-to-date technical equipment and efficiency 
oi personnel are the qualities now sought. 

The distribution of the Navy has also been wholly 
reorganised under the Fascist Government. The 
fleet of Italy now consists of two swift-moving squad- 
rons. The first squadron comprises a division with 


three light armoured cruisers and a flotilla of scouts ; 
and a second division of three 10,000 tons heavy- 
armoured crmsers, with a scout flotilla led by vessels 
capable of touching 34 knots. This group is the 
nerve centre of the new fleet. 

The second squadron consists of a first division of 
light cruisers, and a second division of cruisers and 
cruiser scouts — handy formations of 5000-ton vessels 
capable of well over 30 knots. 

The two squadrons are stationed respectively in the 
Tyrrhenian sea and the Eastern Mediterranean, with 
headquarters at La Spezia and Taranto, The Adriatic 
is patrolled by a light cruiser division and a flotilla of 
destroyers, with another destroyer flotilla held in 

These important changes from the former navy were 
made in 1932 and they mark a decisive phase in long 
contemplated reform carried out only after severe 
manoeuvre tests. The divisions which have now en- 
tered the lines are the fruits of the Government’s 
pohcy of securing the greatest possible efficiency at the 
least possible cost — quality not numbers counting. 
This reformation has been accompanied by the intro- 
duction of a new school of naval strategy and tactics 
based on the possibilities of the new formations. 

“ Ancient Rome on the Sea ” was the theme selected 
by Mussolini for his series of lectures delivered at the 
foreigners’ course at the 1926 session of Perugia Uni- 
versity — a series which he concluded with these words ; 
“ It can therefore be affirmed that Rome was also 
powerful on the sea and that that power was the 
result of long sacrifice, unbreakable tenacity and will. 
These virtues, which served for our yesterdays, wiU 
serve for our tomorrows and for always.” 



In the Aviation Arm the change is so vast that it 
cannot be called a reform but a creation. Long before 
he came into power Mussolini as editor of the Popolo 
P Italia insisted on the necessity of creating not only 
great air fleets for the defence of Italy, for the develop- 
ment of communications and for the political advan- 
tages which such aviation strength would bring in 
its wake, but he also emphasised the desirability of 
fostering the “ air-mindedness ” of the rising genera- 
tions. No sooner was he in power than he set about 
revolutionising this branch of activity. The story is 
best told in a few figures. When Fascism took over, 
the Air Force was a subsidiary arm very much under 
an Under-Secretary or Commissary. Italy then had 
76 efficient machines, 500 men between officers and 
other ranks. And it had no civil aviation. The Air 
Force is now the Royal Air Force under an indepen- 
dent and most up-to-date Ministry. It operates as an 
autonomous arm, save of course for the supreme dis- 
positions of the General Staff commanding the 
cohesion of all fighting forces. The force has today 
some 1500 machines, 22,193 flying officers and other 
ranks. Civil aviation now covers a network of 30,000 
kilometres with 74 machines and 88 pilots. The latest 
available statistics, those for 193a, show that civil 
machines carried 170,000 passengers and covered a 
flying distance of 20,500,000 kilometres. Since its 
foundation in 1926 it has carried in six years about 
170,000 passengers in 500,000 kilometres of flying 
with only eight accidents verified ; and its inter- 
national connections link it up in regular runs to 
Gibraltar and Barcelona ; Zurich ; Munich and 
Berlin ; Vienna ; Sofia ; Athens and Constantinople ; 
Malta, Tripoli and Tobruk ; Tunis. Latest develop- 


ments tend to intensify the trans-Alpine routes to 

Before 1924 Italy held no international speed, dis- 
tance or category records. Since 1924 it has held 25 
various world records, including the transatlantic 
mass flight of 12 seaplanes Rome-Brazil in 1930 ; the 
world speed record of 426.5 miles per hour set up by 
Warrant Officer Francesco Agello at Desenzano on 
April 10, 1933, beating by a narrow margin the 
British record of 407.5 miles per hour achieved by 
Flight-Lieutenant Stainforth at the 1931 Schneider 
race, Isle of Wight ; and the mass double trans- 
atlantic flight Rome-Ghicago-Rome of 1933. 

The reconstruction of the reformed Army and Navy 
was unostentatiously carried out to the orders of 
Mussolini by men like the late Marshal Diaz, General 
de Giorgio, Admiral Thaon de Revel and by the 
present Navy Minister Admiral Sirianni ; but Musso- 
lini’s will for the creation of a strong Air Force has been 
developed under the more spectacular auspices of 
Italo Balbo. Italo Balbo, fighting Blackshirt, military 
leader of the March on Rome, member of the Revolu- 
tionary Quadrumvirate, General in the Fascist Vol- 
unteer Militia, General in the Italian Air Force, 33 
years old when appointed Air Minister in 1929, is the 
nearest living being to a Renaissance warrior that I 
know of in modern Italy. Courteous when he likes, 
unscrupulous, daring others by himself setting a stan- 
dard of daring, good-looking in a swaggering way, 
romantic but practical, loyal but independent, eager 
but balanced, full of bravado but eager to praise, im- 
placable against his enemies, in love with life but 
always challenging death, suave but hard, admired 
but feared, a believer in the sword rather than in 



palaver, jealous of his country and ambitious for its 
greatness as a fighting nation with an armed peace 
among its neighbours, too blunt for diplomacy and too 
impetuous for statesmanship, and bane of politicians 
and an outspoken critic in council — these are some of 
the characteristics which go towards the complex of 
this extraordinary man who is the organiser and leader 
of Italian aviation. 

He took to the air and to all the machinery of flying 
with the eager zest that would surely have marked his 
Ferrara mediaeval ancestors had some power revealed 
to them a fighting plane as substitute for axe and 
sword in their wars against Venice. His faith in the 
necessity of an extra strong Air Force has been almost 
prophetic. To prove his theories Balbo a year or so 
ago organised air manoeuvres which mimicked a 
sudden mass air attack on all Italy ; and he showed 
that the peninsula was indeed vulnerable. Within 
forty-eight hours he had paralysed all the tactical, 
strategical, economic and administrative nerve centres 
of the country. All the anti-air forces and devices 
available were ranged against the attackers ; but he 
showed that they were about as much use as a revolver 
against a swarm of wasps. His demonstration was to 
prove — incidentally for the benefit of Italian delegates 
to disarmament conferences — that the only real 
defence of Italy lies in the air itself — that invading 
planes had to be met by hordes of fighting planes 
whose defence was attack. He is vigorously un- 
favourable towards lighter-than-air craft, and the once 
vaunted semi-dirigibles which brought Italy both glory 
and chagrin imder the exploits of the great and latterly 
much maligned General Nobile, have no place what- 
soever in the Italian air service, military or civil. 



Of the Air Force personnel General Balbo recently 
said ; “ The fervour, the spirit of sacrifice, the high 
grade of endeavour, and the efficiency of Italian air- 
men can never be well enough known or magnified. 
They give themselves to the cause of Fascist wings as 
if it were a religious vocation.” 

All three branches of the Italian forces of land, sea 
and sky, have certainly acquired new-found prestige 
under Fascism. 



The Gentile Reform. Versus Cultural Idealism. Italian History Super- 
emphasized. Religious Teaching. School Control and Extension. Pro- 
fessors" Oath. Balilla. Welfare Work. Summer Camps. Sport. 
Dopolavoro. Olympic Standards, Workers' Recreation. Record of 

T he education of children was one of the earliest 
questions confronted by the Fascist regime. A 
complete reform of the scholastic system has been 
carried out — a reform which, however, has been 
developed slowly from within the old administrative 
and curriculum framework. The principles of educa- 
tion on the other hand have been revolutionised. The 
name of the philosopher Giovanni Gentile stands pre- 
eminent in this work. He was an early academic 
recruit to Fascism, believing that Fascism was the 
realisation of the Liberal conception — the “ actualism” 
of a democratic doctrine which had become dead- 
ended in its forms of practice. His spirit was always 
a little apart from the exuberances of the Party ; but 
he was early nominated Minister of Public Instruction 
by Mussolini, and during the time he held that office 
he put the hall-mark of his personality on the Italian 
educational system. 

Under the Fascist Government schools are no longer 
looked on as public institutions for the benefit of the 
individual citizens. Instead they represent the means 
of fulfilling the right and duty of the State to give to 
the rising generations instruction and education 



answering national ends. The material and positive 
conception of life has been changed for what is con- 
sidered an ethical and cultural idealism. Children 
are prepared to confront life and not just to be able to 
■win certificates for answering questions which test the 
memory and not the reason or sentiment. They are 
also, from their earliest days, taught to appreciate the 
ethical and cultural things of life. And needless to 
say, they are carefiilly imbued with a particular sense 
of the “ destiny ” of Italy, the part which Fascism 
plays towards the furtherance of national ideals, and 
the supreme rdle of Mussolini as the champion of their 

The first act of reform was the restoration of religious 
teaching. In general practice it is of course the 
national religion of Catholicism which is followed, but 
it is the fact of religious instruction, unspecified, which 
is the important point in the change. Provision is 
made for the observances of the very small and scat- 
tered non-Catholic minorities. 

Obligatory elementary education has been extended 
to the age of fourteen. The last year of those whose 
scholastic instruction is to end at that age is organised 
so that it becomes almost technical schoolwork — 
practical handling of tools with a great range of choice 
from art work to engineering or wireless or farming or 
accoimtancy. The boys are taught to respect the 
dignity of manual work. To be a skilled artisan — a 
man who can solve problems or invent or make things 
■ — ^is looked on in the elementary popular schools as a 
greater thing than to yearn for a “ white collar ” job. 
The girls in their last elementary school year get a 
very complete training in domestic economy and 
hygiene. The hours of study are broken with lessons 



in choral singing and with visits to art galleries and, 
in Rome, to the Forums. The children are taught that 
the masterpieces of Imperial and Renaissance Italy 
are their very own heritage and trust. 

Another part of the reform touches not the scholars 
but the schoolmasters. No one but a professed Fascist 
can hope to continue in his career as an elementary 
teacher. In the higher educational institutions and 
in the universities this rule has not been so rigorously 
insisted on. Several attempts have been made in the 
past to force the hands of the professorial class by 
demanding written confessions of political faith or at 
least their signature to such documents — but, with 
exceptions, these teachers of higher specialised sub- 
jects have been left at their work undisturbed. 

In October 1931 the Italian professors were asked 
to subscribe to an oath which read : 

“ I swear to be loyal to the King, to his Royal suc- 
cessors, and to the Fascist regime, and to observe 
loyally the Constitution and other laws of the State ; 
to exercise the position of teacher and to fulfill my 
academic duties with the idea of forming industrious 
citizens, upright and devoted to the Fatherland, and 
to the Fascist regime. I swear I do not belong to and 
never will belong to associations or Parties whose activ- 
ities cannot be reconciled with the duties of my 

There was a minority hesitancy in subscribing to 
this oath, but practically all ultimately signed. 

One notable feature of school life is the inculcation 
of the ntilitary idea. Wars are not merely sets of 
double dates in a history book. They are paragraphs 
of glory and emulation, and a classic flavour — a sense 



of historical continuity — ^is given to Italian victories. 
Latin has been extended as a compulsory subject to 
all sections of the secondary schools. 

All Provincial administration of schools has been 
suppressed and a Scholastic Council, centralised under 
the Ministry of Public Instruction, has been instituted, 
with special committees for Provincial and grade 
schools. By this means public education has been 
taken out of what amounted to detached bureaucratic 
control. It is political control over educational policy 
which has now been achieved. During the first decade 
of the regime the Government built, in 2 764 Communes, 
schools comprising 11,000 schoolrooms capable of 
serving 620,000 scholars. Most of the new schools are 
in Southern Italy. 

The actual scholastic side of higher education in 
Fascist Italy merges into a department of activity in 
which physical instruction is prominent. This physical 
instruction in turn is based on a military organisation 
which sets the feet of Italian children from the age of 
six into drill formations and pushes their minds into 
familiarity with the training and thoughts of the fight- 
ing forces. The principal nation-wide organisation for 
this work is the Opera Nazionale Balilla. The official 
task of this Opera is the “ physical and material educa- 
tion of youth.” 

The name Balilla itself is linked with one of the 
heroic incidents in the history of the Italians’ struggle 
for independence. In 1 746, while the Austrians were 
in possession of Genoa, they called on the citizens to 
help them drag a cannon on to the main road in order 
that it be used against those compatriots and allies 
who would deliver the town from Austrian yoke. 
While the Austrian soldiers were forcing the citizens 



to this work, a boy called Giovanni Battista Perasso, 
but known to everyone by the nick-name of Balilla, 
defied the orders of the Austrian detachment. Like 
David he slung a stone at the enemy. That stone 
became the symbol of the revolt which, although 
suppressed at the time, reawoke to win ultimate 
independence for Genoa and all Italy. 

Although the Balilla organisation is dovetailed into 
the scholastic system, it is nevertheless under the direct 
vigilance of the Capo del Governo and is indirectly 
under the disciplinary orders of the National Black- 
shirt Militia. Along with these Balilla boys there is 
an equivalent institution for girls known as Piccole 
Italiane and the Giovani Italiane^ who number over one- 
and-a-half million members. 

Along with this physical work there is also State- 
controlled welfare work which insures that every 
child, whether he belongs to the Balilla) the Piccole 
Italiane or not, is made as physically sound as possible. 
Open-air schools, open-air recreation, open-air games, 
open-air seaside and mountain camps are the principal 
means towards this end. During the height of summer 
it is safe to say that seventy-five per cent of the city 
workingclass children have a minimum holiday of three 
weeks at a summer camp. Each city in Italy has got 
two camps bearing the city’s name — one on the sea and 
the other in mountain areas of the Alps or Apennines. 
The very finest health resorts in Italy have these 
summer centres, and no vested interests are allowed to 
interfere with the full establishment of the camps. 
Children are sent to the sea or the mountains accord- 
ing to their medical needs. 

These summer camps are also open to the children 
of Italian workmen in other countries. This has proved 



one of the most invaluable means of propaganda 
among Italians abroad, and has done much to con- 
vince such Italians of the real and intimate benefits 
arising out of the new regime. During the summer 
months of 1933, 30 ,ooo children were brought into 
Italy, given a month’s holiday, and returned to their 
parents abroad. A nominal payment is demanded, 
as it is the purpose of the regime to avoid the idea 
that it is charity and not patriotic co-operation which 
prompts their efforts. 

These camps are also the starting-points for athletic 
training which is thereafter carried on into youth-time 
and early manhood. The regime is not yet old enough 
for more than one generation to have grown up from 
childhood to full manhood, but even so, the athletic 
training which that generation has received has been 
sufficient to win for Italy second place at the Olympic 
Games at Los Angeles. The Italian team there 
easily outpointed all other European teams, and 
was only exceeded by the home team of American 

Although the Balilla with its subsequent Militia 
training has done much to improve the physique of 
the race, it is really through an institution known as 
the Opera JVazionale Dopolavoro that specialised train- 
ing up to championship form is given to Italian youth. 
The Olympic Cup for 1932 was assigned to this 
Dopolavoro organisation in token of the world cham- 
pionship standard to which it had raised Italian sport. 
This Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro is, like all other Fascist 
institutions, linked into the framework of the complete 
Fascist organisation ; its most significant connection is 
with the Workers’ Syndicates. Dopolavoro — “ After 
Work ” — seeks to create recreational interests for the 



working classes, and its success has been one of the 
most notable things in the history of Fascism. 

There is no department of amusement, instruction, 
art, sport, music or hobbies of whatever nature that 
has not got its place in the Dopolavoro. It has travel- 
ling theatres and travelling operas which bring the 
best work before country audiences in the most remote 
parts of the peninsula. Everyone is served by the 
Dopolavoro but no one is favoured above his neigh- 
bours. Some figures published on the Tenth Anniver- 
sary of the Fascist regime and on the seventh anniver- 
sary of the foundation of the Dopolavoro^ showed that 
this institution had established 1350 people’s theatres ; 
2208 dramatic societies ; 2365 libraries, many of them 
travelling hbraries ; that it had organised 3324 brass 
bands and 2139 orchestral societies ; and that its 
members had given 44,200 theatrical and folk-lore 
spectacles and 98,744 concerts. The membership of 
the Dopolavoro has risen from 10,000 in 1929 to 
1,667,000 in January 1933. That figure continues to 
soar and by the time this book is in print it will prob- 
ably have passed the 2,000,000 figure. 

The Fascist Party has special committees which keep 
it in continual touch with these educational and 
health manifestations of the regime. Instruction and 
physical training continue throughout the growing 
years of the rising generations — instruction with “ a 
new manner of living ” as its basis ; physical training 
with military efficiency as its ideal : “ The Book and 
the Rifle.” 



The Rising Generations. Militia's All-important R6le. Annual Levy. 
From Boys to Veterans. The Ceremony. Consigning the Rijle. Fourteen 
Tears’ Training in Citizenship. Giovinezza kept pristine. 

W E have seen the Blackshirt National Militia in 
course of these pages perform all sorts of tasks ; 
we have seen it, in course of its evolution, survive many 
vicissitudes. We have seen it as a handful of desperate 
fighting squads — ^members of the Fasci di Combatti- 
mento — confronting the organised multitudes of inter- 
nationally led Socialists in 1919- 1920 ; we have seen 
it as an irregular yet cohesive force ranged against the 
Democratic- Liberal regime in 1921-1922 ; we have 
seen it, in the March on Rome, as the spear-head argu- 
ment of Fascism in Mussolini’s elevation to govern- 
mental power in October 1922 ; we have seen it as a 
formally enrolled National Militia in January 1923 ; 
we have seen it as the hammer of the Aventine and 
other Opposition from 1923 on ; we have seen it as a 
Blackshirt Army formally enrolled in the service of the 
Grown in October 1924 ; we have seen it reorganised 
and equipped as a regular unit of the State by 1925 ; 
we have seen its inner spiritual significance expounded 
in the doctrinal section of this book and there we have 
also seen the symbolism with which it contributes to 
the mystic side of Fascism ; we have seen it again in 
this last section as an auxiliary element in the educa- 
tion and physical development of youth ; we have 



seen it as a pre-military training ground ; we have 
seen it as part of the Regular Italian Army ; and we 
have seen it as the executors and guarantors of public 
services in the Departments of Police, Frontiers, Anti- 
Aircraft, Forests, Railways, Ports, Postal, Colonial, 
Communications, and Highway Traffic Service. 

Essential as these historical and practical manifesta- 
tions are to the progress of the Revolution, what is per- 
haps its greatest responsibility and function has yet to 
be described. The Blackshirt National Militia is the 
artery through which the blood of new generations 
flows into the Fascist Revolutionary State. The ranks 
of the Fascists receive this influx once a year on Rome’s 
Birthday and Italian Labour Day, April 21. The 
ceremony is known as the Fascist Levy. 

As well as recounting the history of the National 
Militia, I have also described the development and 
work of the Balilla and of its senior organisation, the 
Avangmrdisti, or advanced guards. They play their 
all-important part in this annual levy which tranfuses 
the Revolution from one generation to another. In 
describing the spirit and process of the levy I may be 
gmlty of a little recapitulation, but this is necessary in 
order to recast the idea in the reader’s mind of the 
Blackshirt Militia in its particular character of Revolu- 
tion continuity ; and also to emphasise the vast out- 
ward difference between the conditions amid which 
the new generations are rising and those which char- 
acterised the early days of the Militia squads — a 
difference which the Fascists do not wish to be 

In the well-ordered Rome of today, where everything 
bustles along peacefully though noisily, one is apt to 
forget that it is the capital of a country ruled by a 


Xhe ceremony of consie;ning fasci^it emblems from the senior to 
the junior giades ol the rising gcnciations of Blackshirts is carried 
out at the Fascist Levy every April In this picture an Aimi^uardista 
IS handing over his cordon to an age-limit Balill i, who thus becomes 
an Avanguardista , the age-limit Avanguaidista in turn receiving 


Revolutionary regime, and that it is the headquarters 
of that Revolution control. Parades of Blackshirts, 
which less than ten years ago meant a muster for some 
bloody job of attack or defence, now signify spectacles 
for which the public demand grand-stand tickets. Is it 
just that the Blackshirts — the men of the fighting 
squads and the raid troops — have grown ten years 
older, and that, in their new smart uniforms, they 
have become harmless middle-aged men, more or less 
picturesque anachronisms ? It is certainly not so. 
The men of the real Revolution days, when the 
Socialists, Communists and Anarchists had to be 
physically fought, now assemble only on special Fascist 
Party occasions, and they assemble frankly as “ vete- 
rans ” or, as they are more often called here, “ First- 
Hour Fascists.” Nevertheless, they are always working 
for the Party in a way which is calculated to guarantee 
“ the continuity ” of the Revolution. 

They do this by acting as instructors, teachers, 
advisers, office-bearers and lecturers to the M.V.S.N., 
the present-day National Safety Volunteer Militia. 
These “ first-hour ” men are those who fought in the 
“ action squads ” or “ shock troops ” of Mussolini in 
1 9 1 9 — squadristi, the arditi and the fiamme nere which 
as a whole formed the Fasci di Combattimento whose 
history we have already followed. A selection of men 
from these veterans is devoted to preserving the revolu- 
tionary past, the fortification of the present against 
anything which might threaten the work of the 
Revolution State, and the ensurance of the revolu- 
tionary future. 

No one, with extremely rare exceptions, can enlist 
direct into the ranks of the Volunteer Militia. And 
therein lies the secret of its continuity along the genera- 



tions. Recruitment is made exclusively through the 
annual April 21 Fascist Levy ; and that levy is 
made from the Fasci Giovanili di Combattimento — the 
Young Fighting Fascists. These are twenty-year-old 
youths who have in turn, in the course of years, been 
levied from the Avanguardisti and, while still younger, 
from the Balilla. The veteran Militiamen are already 
nearly all outside the ranks of the present-day Militia ; 
but, as above noted, they act as instructors, etc., or else 
have passed into other spheres of Fascist propaganda 
among the people. The numbers coming annually 
into the Militia is more or less equivalent to the num- 
bers retiring from all but special service. 

The Levy is performed with special ceremony, and 
Mussolini, whenever possible, takes personal part in the 
Rome parade. At the last Levy in April 1933 there 
were 2,688,687 children and youths enrolled among 
the junior organisations from which the Militia ranks 
are fed. Infants of six years old are mustered into 
the almost kindergarten fold of the first-year Balilla. 
Balilla who have reached the age of fourteen, and have 
qualified for promotion, pass into the Avanguardisti. 
Eighteen-year-old Avanguardisti who have completed 
their training, and show the necessary aptitude and 
character, become members of the Fasci Giovanili; 
and these on becoming twenty years old and on the 
satisfactory conclusions of their final tests — political, 
moral, physical, military, and specialised in accordance 
with the branch of the Militia with which they hope 
to serve — are enrolled ais members of the Fascist Party 
and as Volunteers of the National Militia. 

At every stage of promotion each grade of the 
ascending senior youths take off the emblems of their 
formation and consign them individually to the young 



newcomer. Each embraces the other, and the Fascist 
oath is renewed. In the junior formations the princi- 
pal emblem is the coloured kerchief which is worn 
loosely knotted over the black shirt. In the inter- 
mediate grades it is a knotted cordon. In the senior 
formation it is the rifle which is handed on. 

During the 1933 ceremony over 108,000 eighteen- 
year-old Avanguardisti thus consigned their symbolical 
kerchiefs of the Roman colours (orange and brown) 
and moved into the Fasci Giovanili, and an almost 
equal number entered full membership of the Party. 

This means that there is a yearly entry of a new 
young generation into the political, semi-military and 
civil life of the new Italy — a new generation which has 
already completed fourteen years of training in civic 
and military discipline, in initiative, in thought for 
others, in respect for religion, in a sense of duty, in 
patriotic and political ideas as propounded by the 
Fascists and in concentrated Fascist national idealism 
with special regard to the “ destiny ” of Italy, the 
superiority of the Fascist system and unquestioning 
devotion to the regime and to the Duce. 

In this way the spirit of the March on Rome is car- 
ried forward in a perennial re-incarnation of its 
pristine Giovinezza. 



Mussoliniana. More Arbiter than Dictator. Method of Work. Colla- 
borators. Endless Labour. Personal Regime. Publicity. Aloof from 
Intimacy. Death of Arnaldo. Odyssey of Thought and Action. The 
New Faith. 

W HAT of the man who is the originator of the 
Revolution, the animator of the regime and the 
fabricator of New Italy — the man who has led his 
country Through Fascism to World Power ? Readers 
who have followed me thus far will, by force of the 
facts assembled within these covers, realise the truth 
of the words written in my Preface : “ Fascism is so 
much the creation of Mussolini that any history of it 
must perforce be a history of Mussolini. His name, 
thoughts, words and deeds therefore run through this 
history just as they run through the life of modem 
Italy, so that it is well-nigh impossible to detach the 
movement from its master-mind,” 

It is curious to reflect in passing how the Govern- 
ments and political parties which flourished before the 
advent of Fascism were associated more strongly in 
most cases with the names of the Premiers and Party 
leaders than with the names of the political schools of 
thought they were supposed to represent — the “ Salan- 
dra ” Government, the *' Giolitti ” Liberals, the 
“ Graziani List,” the “ Lombardo Pellegrino ” Group, 
and so on. And yet none of such as these was the 
creator of any system of Government. On the other 
hand there has never been in the history of Italy a 


Government and policy so completely identified with 
one man as in the case of Fascism — and there ha.s 
never been a Government in which the name of its 
creator and the title of its governmental system has 
been so meticulously kept apart. You hear plenty of 
the Duce del Fascismo, but never nowadays of the 
“ Mussolini ” Fascists ; you hear in Italy of the 
“ Fascist ” or the “ Italian ” but not of the “ Mus- 
solini ” Government ; and there are Fascisti, but no 
“ Mussoliniani.” 

As early as 1924 Mussolini checked any attempt to 
confuse himself as the leader of Fascism and Fascism 
itself, “ There are some who would create an anti- 
thesis between Fascismo and Mussolinismo. I don’t 
accept this. In reality Mussolinismo would be used by 
certain folk as a kind of viaticum to enable them to 
fight, first Fascism and then Mussolini. I tell you that 
the most decided axAi-Mussoliniano is Mussolini. I beg 
of you to abuse my name no longer.” 

Despite the publicity which surroimds Mussolini’s 
public activities there is still a considerable misreading 
of his governmental methods and personal character 
in administrative affairs. The most persistent myth 
is that he is a dictator whose desk is piled up with 
Ministerial portfolios ; that laws jump ready-made 
out of his brain and that he sees to their immediate and 
unalterable application ; that he has, not collabora- 
tors, but more or less terrified underlings ; and that 
no one dare mention his name above a whisper without 
risk of being clapped into gaol ! 

To my mind the best word to describe Mussolini is 
not dictator of Italy but final arbiter. In an abstract 
sense the dictator of Italy is not a person, but is the 
doctrine of Fascism itself, as a way of living. It is a 


creed, which imposes itself on the nation ; and Musso- 
lini is the absolute interpreter of that creed in its 
translation into law and is the arbiter of its interpreta- 
tions by others. In the practical field Mussolini is 
also more an arbiter than a dictator. Schemes are 
worked out by their exponents and experts. The 
finished plan or rival plans are submitted to Mussolini. 
With a genius for quickly grasping the essentials of any 
problem and with an uncanny flair for sensing the 
competence or otherwise of exponents and experts, he 
works out his conclusions and his judgment becomes 

Mussolini’s assumption of several Ministerial port- 
folios — he has held as many as eight at one time — 
means that he accepts responsibility while some ques- 
tion of Ministerial policy is under discussion, while 
some particular question requires special handling or 
public confidence reinforced, or while an Under- 
secretary is being trained and tried out for the full 
post. The changes wrought from time to time in the 
junior Ministerial and diplomatic ranks make the 
Cabinet a training ground where future Ministers, 
Ambassadors and Consuls learn the Mussolini way not 
only of thinking about things but of doing things. 
These changes are usually made with disconcerting 
suddenness and unexpectedness, the deposed official 
even learning from his morning newspaper that his 
“ resignation has been accepted,” — a pill usually 
coated with a few words of appreciation about his 

This change-over system in Government and Party 
office has been reduced to a ritual known as “ changing 
the guard,” so that no stigma is attached to dismissal. 

For the preparation of the enormous number of 



Decree Laws which are passed Mussolini lays down the 
general principles. The Fascist Grand Council de- 
fines, in the form of a resolution, the Party policy for 
the furtherance of these principles. The Chamber, 
being constituted of experts presumably familiar with 
the particular national interest which they represent, 
is easily resolved into committees capable of handling 
all the topics with which Government has to deal. 
These committees along with the juridical experts dis- 
cuss and frame the Bills, which therefore come before 
the Chamber, as it were, ready-made. 

There is perhaps no Prime Minister with such a 
number of collaborators as Mussolini, because for 
every given task he calls on the best man available in 
the country to work with him for its speedy comple- 
tion. In fact it is possible to follow the evolution of 
Fascism by noting the kind of men whom Mussolini 
successively calls to co-operate with him for the fur- 
therance of his national programme. For instance, in 
the case of finance, we see first the theorist and re- 
former, de Stefani, in office as Finance Minister. As 
soon as he had got Italian finance back on the rails 
with the Budget balanced and the financial engine 
moving forward with a credit balance, then Mussolini 
changed the academic de Stefani for the go-ahead 
man-of-the-world business expert Volpi. When Volpi 
had fixed up the American debt and had the country’s 
finances careering at full speed, he was replaced by 
another type, Mosconi. Mosconi, actuarially minded, 
just kept things going on steadily on the set course 
mrtil replaced by the banker Jung, who now engineers 
the nation’s finances through the danger zones of inter- 
national conflicts between the inflationists and the 
gold standard schools. 

s as 



It will be seen from this typical example that Musso- 
lini’s “ dictatorship ” consists of utilising the collabora- 
tion of the right men at the right time and for the right 
period. Cabinet changes no longer meaning crises, 
but rather an adjustment of governmental rhythm. 
The same thing may be noted in the Party hierarchy. 
The Party Secretary at the March on Rome, Michele 
Bianchi, was a Fascist forerunner fighting for a national 
ideal but within a Party framework. The succeeding 
two secretaries after Mussolini came to power were 
organisers with a particular knowledge of whereabouts 
lay the opponents of Fascism. The Matteotti set-back 
was stemmed by putting the intransigent Farinacci in 
office. The recovery was marked by a programme 
directed towards raising the physique of the genera- 
tion, so the sportsman Turati was put in charge, 
Turati was dismissed the Party for personal reasons, 
but his work as an organiser had been completed. 
And now Starace, a hard-working, imassuming man, 
represents the current policy of bringing Fascism more 
into the everyday life of everyday people. 

Others continue doing collaborative work in special- 
ised fields — men like Marshal Badoglio, Air Marshal 
Balbo, Dino Grandi, Costanzo Ciano, del Croix, 
Renato Ricci and many others who are faithful inter- 
preters of Mussolini’s will in fields of activity repre- 
sented in the above names by Colonial and military 
administration, aeronautical expansion, foreign af- 
fairs, communications, ex-servicemen’s interests and 
the Balilla movement. In the Ministry of Corpora- 
tions you see young revolutionary enthusiasts suc- 
ceeded by men of the hard-bitten Labour school. But 
behind all that ebb and flow of collaboration there is 
Mussolini’s final word in all things. He does not, how- 


ever, stick blindly to his pronouncements. His decisions 
are the means and not the end of his leadership. 

More than once he has been betrayed in the confi- 
dence which he has reposed on his lieutenants. It is 
not for nothing that in his play The Hundred Days his 
mind dwells on the internal drama of Napoleon and 

Living in Rome, it is amusing to hear of the different 
people who in succession are supposed to “ influence ” 
Mussolini. It is not people, but events, which influence 
him. He calls in many consultants and takes note of 
all reasoned advice, but he has a mighty quick eye for 
anyone who tries to influence his policy or line of con- 
duct. On this subject Mussolini has said : “ There 
is a fable which describes me as a good dictator 
but always surrounded by evil counsellors to whose 
mysterious and malign influence I submit. All that is 
more than fantastic : it is idiotic. Considerably long 
experience goes to demonstrate that I am an indivi- 
dual absolutely refractory to outside pressure of any 
kind. My decisions come to maturity often in the 
night — ^in the solitude of my spirit and in the solitude 
of my rather arid (because practically non-social) 
personal life. Those who are the ‘ evU counsellors of 
the good tyrant ’ are the five or six people who come 
each morning to make their daily report, so that I may 
be informed of all that’s happening in Italy. After 
they have made their reports, which rarely takes more 
than half an hour, they go away.” 

In addition to this, Mussolini spoke of his real colla- 
borators, saying : “ But I must add that to those who 
make their reports there are my more direct colla- 
borators in my daily task, collaborators who specially 
share with me the salt bread of Fascist Governmental 



responsibility. To those I hereby express the full 
sense of my friendship and gratitude.” 

Another fable which could be scouted is the persis- 
tent belief among a surprising number of English and 
American visitors to Rome that it is dangerous to 
mention Mussolini’s name in public ! These ridicu- 
lous people call him “ Mr. Smith/’ and seem to get 
a thrill out of their supposed “ knowingness.” 

As the inspirer, driving force and one responsible 
for the growth of present-day Italy, the work which 
Mussolini has accomplished since he became Prime 
Minister in 1922 baffles the imagination. It is doubt- 
ful if any man in world history has so much trans- 
formed a nation in so short a period of time. Others 
have made territorial expansion — ^raising States to 
Empires' — or have revolutionised the administrations 
of countries ; but Mussolini has done something more 
profound. He has changed the spirit of a race, indi- 
vidually and collectively. It is not only the Italians 
in Italy who are different from what they were eleven 
years ago or so, but also the millions of Italians in the 
two Americas and in other parts of the globe. 

In addition to his labours as Capo del Governo and 
his mirusterial work in all home and foreign affairs, he 
has arduous responsibilities as Duce del Fascismo, He 
takes a keen and knowledgeable interest in every con- 
structive aspect of Italian life, from the motor-cycle 
trade to high finance. He receives an endless stream 
of people, from statesmen to labourers, from inter- 
viewers to curiosity-mongers who have pulled wires 
to be able to add Mussolini to the sights of Rome. He 
writes articles and plays, delivers lectures, opens 
conferences, inspects public works, receives petitions 
and deputations, attends the Chamber, holds Cabinet 


meetings at ten in the morning and Fascist Council 
meetings at midnight, and drafts all his resolutions, 
minutes, reports and plans. At the Fifth Annual 
Assembly of the regime in 1929 he told his audience 
that he had granted 60,000 audiences and had inter- 
ested himself in 1,887,112 matters concerning citizens 
who had written to him, and “ every single citizen 
who had applied to him, even from the remotest 
villages, had received a reply.” 

Mussolini could appropriately be called Pater Patriae. 
He has imited the Italian people as one family; and 
all turn to him, as to the head of the house, with their 
troubles, knowing that they can be sure of justice in 
his judgment. These appeals and the enormous pro- 
grammes of work which he plans and carries out 
demand, it is obvious, a powerful concentration of 
unusual whi-power. 

How does he do it? He answered this question 
at the same Fifth Assembly meeting : “To reach this 
pitch I have set my motor to a regime. I have ration- 
alised my daily work. I have reduced all waste of 
time and energy to a minimum. I have adopted this 
maxim which I recommend to all Italians — each day’s 
work must be methodically but regularly cleared off 
in the course of the day. No work held over unfinished. 
Ordinary work ought to be carried out with an almost 
mechanical automatic precision.” 

Mussolini has a mind divided into insulated com- 
partments, so that he can pass from one subject to 
another with complete freshness of outlook. He sleeps 
little, but profoundly and at will. There is never a 
litter of papers on his huge table-desk in Ws working 
room, the Salone del Mappamondo, at the Palazzo 
Venezia. Even in his intervals from work he must be 



up and doing things — riding, fencing or driving his 
car at high speed. On July ag, 1933, he celebrated his 
fiftieth birthday, but there is no diminution of his 
energy : the spirit of giovinezza remains. He loves 
to be out and about with a great crowd of officials — 
sometimes hundreds of them — out of breath to keep 
abreast of him, and he likes nothing better than to 
welcome great concourses of Italians and to be wel- 
comed in return as their Duce. 

Batteries of cameras follow him. Far from objecting, 
he has an instinct for what should make a good picture, 
and he doesn’t disappoint the photographers in their 
chances to take advantage of the opportunities created. 
But the note in these pictures is not Mussolini per se, 
but Mussolini “ doing something which means some- 
thing ” in the advancement of his work for the 

For relaxation he sometimes has chamber concerts 
in his house or sees the latest films in the International 
Institute of Cinematography whose premises adjoin 
the gardens of his house, or plays the violin. He would 
like to live even more in direct contact with the 
people but he has to submit himself to the protective 
dispositions of the police, who take no risks with their 

Mussolini’s life is in fact, except for rare moments, 
one continual round of work. He once said, while 
speaking on “ liberty,” that he of all Italians had least 
liberty ; and on another occasion he said that the only 
thing he had got out of his job was a fine horse. His 
dream is to hunt — “ There is no sport more electrify- 
ing, especially if weU movmted on a fast-going animal 
that takes all obstacles and goes like an arrow ! But 
alas 1 I have no time to join the hunt ; so I have my 



morning gallop and then feel supremely prepared to 
confront the grave responsibilities of office.” 

He is inexorably hostile to nepotism. A good front 
seat at a football match is about the limit of the con- 
cessions given to his boys. Family life is kept a thing 
apart from public life. Since Mussolini took office he 
has had no holiday longer than three consecutive days, 
and these brief occasions he always spends with ids 
wife and children, farming on the experimental plots 
of his small estate in his native Romagna. 

With all his world rSclame, with all the publicity of 
his office and of his outward life, with all the hordes 
of people with whom he comes in contact, with all his 
collaborators and colleagues, it can be said of Musso- 
lini that he is one of the best-known men in the world 
to-day. But it can also be said that he is the least 
known. And if he is the most popular man in Italy, 
he is also the most solitary. No one knows the inner 
Mussolini. He has no intimates : no boon com- 
panions. His nature opens in compassion before the 
generic idea of humanity, but holds strangely aloof 
from individual humans. His greatest and closest 
friend was his younger brother Amaldo. As editor of 
the Popolo d’ Italia, and as helpful encourager and con- 
fidant of the Duce, the two brothers held one another 
in particular affection. In 1930 Arnaldo’s son San- 
drino died after a long illness. From this blow Arnaldo 
did not recover, and died in 1931. Of that sad occa- 
sion Mussolini writes in his Vita di Arnaldo — “ By his 
death I have suffered and will suffer long. Mutila- 
tions of the spirit no less than those of the body are 
irreparable. I feel my grief for the departure of 
Arnaldo like a secret fire which will always accom- 
pany me : a fire which will feed my will and my faith. 



I will carry the burden (of government) also for him, 
so that his labours, his passion and his grief shall not 
have been in vain ; so that his memory be honoured ; 
so that the ideals in which he believed may triumph 
and endure, even, and above all, beyond my life.” 
The death of his brother left Mussolini in a mental 
soUtude whose consolation is work for the fulfilment of 
the ideals they discussed and wrought out together. 
Great as are his achievements, it is not as a man of 
action, but as a man of thought that the real Mussolini 
is to be found. The records of his boyhood show him 
to have been a rebellious spirit with complacent auth- 
ority as his particular target. It was the complacent 
element which roused him then — as it rouses him now 
— for that was to him a sign of self-sufficiency indicat- 
ing the presence of a mere negative place-holder, and 
therefore one who should be deposed. It was through 
such early conflicts that his mind passed from hostility 
towards the individual to hostility towards the social 
system behind the individual. And so by the time 
Mussolini had become a youth and had reached early 
manhood, his rebellion, was political. 

His life mission became a search for a basis of 
thought which would satisfy his self-questionings on 
the politico-philosophy of government. He set out on 
his quest with a medallion portrait of Karl Marx in 
his pocket when he first went to Switzerland as a 
youth of eighteen. There, in the company of Russian 
Nihilists, he devoured the writings of Babeuf, Nietz- 
sche, Blanqui and Sorel. He searched the philosophers, 
especially Hegel and Schopenhauer. We have fol- 
lowed his political Odyssey from that period. We have 
seen him with the Anarchists, with the International 
Socialists, with the Socialists, with the Socialists of the 


Right and of the Left, with the Republicans, with the 
Sorel Syndicalists — testing their several tenets, accept- 
ing some but always disrupting from their main doc- 
trines, always moving on without having ever belonged. 
We have seen him gather other strands — ^irredentism, 
nationalism, co-operative syndicalism, monarchism. 
We have seen how he welded his gathering convictions 
with the passion of patriotism, and we have seen the 
actions and reactions of events upon the battle of his 

The Fascist Corporate State as it stands to-day 
therefore represents the final and concrete answer to 
the questions which Mussolini first began putting to 
himself as a youth of eighteen in his restless and rebel- 
lious pursuit of a new political order. His own faith 
now burns in practically every Italian breast — and the 
result is New Italy. 



Abruzzi, aoa 
Absolutism, 182 
Abyssinia, 222, 264 
Academy, the Italian, 263, 339 
Adalia, 39, 66 
Adige, the, 8 

Adriatic, the, 36, 40, 65, 106-7, 
log-to, 118, 1Q3, 136, 163-7, 
213, 218-9, 383 
Aegean, the, 36, 108, 216, 225 
Aesop, 71 
Afghanistan, 217 
Africa, 107, 1 13 
Africa, Northern, see North 
Agello, Francesco, 385 
Agrarian centres, 99 
Agriculture, 360-1, 363 
Ail Force, the, 376-8, 384, 386-7 
Albania, 37, 39, 60, 86, 109-10, 1 14, 
167-8, 212, 214, 216, 220, 225 
Alhertini, Senator, 132, 158 
Algeciras, 220 
Algeria, ig 

Allgeminer Deutscher Schulverein, 20 
“ Alliance of Work,” the, 138-9 
Allogeni, the, 178 
Alpine frontier of i8ii, the, 7 
Alps, the, 8, 57, 59, 165, 214, 255, 

385, 39a 

Alsace, 269 

Alto Adige, the, 8, 38, 92-3, 1 18, 
143, “55 

Amendola, Giovanni, 181 
America, see United States 
America, South, 66, 212 
American troops at Fiume, 109 
Amnesty, 245-6 

Amsterdam Internationale, the, 86 
Anarchism, 139 

Anarchists, the, 27, 30, 44, 79, 81, 

83, 91, 1*7, aoo, *03, 2 1 1, 244, 

397, 410 

Anatolia, Southern, 108 
“ Ancient Rome on the Sea,” 383 
Ancona, 30-1, 83, 86, 101 


Andreas Hoferbmd, the, 93 
Anniversary of the Tenth Year, g 
Anschluss, the Austro-German, 9, 
214-5, 270_ 

Anti-Bolshevist Popular Union, 
the, 85 

Anti-clericalism, 12 1 

Anti-monarchism, 82 

Aosta, Duke of, 1 29 

Apennines, the, 392 

Arabia, 113 

Ara Pacis, the, 296 

Ara Patria, the, 2 10 

Arditi, the, 81, 9 1, 1 1 3, 1 83, 325, 397 

Arezzo, 83 

Armaments, 254, q6o, 264-5 
Armistice, the, 69, 93, 109-10, 143, 

Armistice Day, 155, 201, 322 
Army, the, 376-81, 385, 395-6 
Asia Minor, 66, 171 
Asiatic Turkey, 39 
Assisi, 238 

Associations of Employers, 345 
Athens, 169, 17 1, 383 
Augustus, Emperor, 295-6 
Austria, 6 , 7, 9, 1 1, 17, 19, 28-9, 
35-8, 40-2, 44-5, 56-7, 61, 65, 69, 
76, 92-3, 164, 167, 212, 214, 217- 
8, *50, 255-7. *69-71 
Austrian Chancellor, the, 255, 257 
Austrian Fleet, the, 154 
Austrian officials, 142 
Author, Mussolini as, 29, 30 
Avanguardxsli, the, 85, 235, 276, 
365-6, 380, 396, 398-9 
Avanti, the, 29, 42-3, 247 
“ Aventine ” Opposition, the, 185, 
189, 192-3, 198-9, 206, 395 

Babeuf, 410 
Bachelors, tax on, 230 
Badoglio, Marshal, 404 
Balbo, General, 144-5, 264, 385-7, 

Balilla, 230, 235, 276, 279, 365-6, 
380, 391-3, 396, 398 
Balkan States, 36, 213, 216, 220 
Baltic States, 166 
Banca Conunerciale, 21 
Banca di Sconto, 140 
Banca d’ltalia, 378 
Banks, the, 80, 83 
Barcelona, 384 
Bari, 79 

Baros, 141, 167, 177 

Battisti, Cesare, 29, 44, 61 

“ Battle of the Grain,” 357, 363 

Bazzi, Emilio, 246 

Belgium, 107, 212 

Belgrade, 35, 166, 17 1, 218, 253 

Benckendorff, 65, 105 

Benedict XV,, Pope, 54, 125, 139 

Berengario, 4 

Bergson, 28-9, 120 

Berlin, 42, 384 

Berne, 30, 82, loi 

Bersaglieri corps, the, 62, 13 1 

Biagi, Bruno, 356 

Bianchi, Michele, 144-5, 404 

“ Big Four,” the, 106 

Bisenzio, 79 

Bismarck, 18, 315-6 

Bissolati, 53 

Black shirt, the, 113, 323, 399 
Blanqui, izo, 410 
Blueshirts, 88, 102, 113 
Bologna, 83-4, 88-9, gi, i88, 203 
Bolshevism, vii, 66, 70, 76, 96, 137, 
139, 215, a8o, 319 
Bolzano, 37, 92-3, 142, 255, 271 
Bomb outrages, 78-9, 82-3, 89-91, 

BonarLaw, 166 
Bonifica Jntegrale, 361-3 
Bonomi, 122, 125-7, 14°) *43 
Boselli, 53 

Bottai, Giuseppe, 356 
Bourbons, the, 7, 28 
Bovone, 243 

Brenner, the, 39, 107, 118, 214-5, 
252, 255-6, 270-1, 290 
Britain, set Great Britain 


British shipping interests, no 
“ Bronze Doors ” of the Vatican, 
the, 275 

Brussels, 198, 241 
Buddha, 29 

Budget, the, 157, 190, 358, 403 
Buenos Aires, 241 
Bulgaria, 40, 76, 164, 218 
Bureaucracy, 159 

Caesar, Julius, 274, 295 
Caesars, the, 5 
Gambon, 105 

Campidoglio, the, 275, 296 
Canada, i66 
Candela, 52 
Cannes, 242 
Cape Planka, 39, 40 
Capello, General, 201 
Capital, taxation of, 75, 80 
Capitalism, I2i, 132 
Capitol, the, 105, 146, 328 
Capitoline Hill, the, 323 
Cnporetto, 53, 58 
Capture of factories, 78, 84, 89 
Carabinieri, 194, 381-2 
Carrara quarry workers, 83 
Carso, the, 57-60, 62 
Casalini, 188 
Castel Gandolfo, 272 
Castellini, 61 
Castelluzzo, 52 
Castor-oil methods, 161, 190 
“ Catholic Action,” the, 276-9 
Catholic Boy Scouts, 276 
Catholic Educational Board, 276 
Catholic Young Men's Society, 

Catholic Young Women’s Society, 

Catholicism, Roman, 156, 275, 

879 . 318. 370. 389 

Cattaro, 109, 2l8 

Cavour, 8, 16, 18, 130, 237, 275 

CecU, Ixird Robert, 17a 

Centre, the, 31, 33, 4i, 45-6, 51-2, 

117, 173 

Cerignola, 52 



Chad, Lake, I oS ' 

Chair of St. Peter, the, 4, 337 
Chambery, 242 

Charles Albert of Piedmont, 12 
Charter, the Labour, 197, 227, 
235-6, 239, 34t, 343, 349-50, 

Chief of General Staff, 376-7 
Chieti, 202 

Chigi archives, the, 238 
Child welfare, 230 
Christian ethics, 98 
Christian Socialism, 99 
“ Christian ” trade unions, the, 

Church, the, 1 1, 98, too, 134, 140, 
143, 145, 236-7. 240, 273-4, 276, 
290-1, 295, 325 

Church and State, 98-9, iai-4, 
236, 275, 278, 337 
Ciano, Costanzo, 404 
Civil Service, the, 154, 235 
Class warfare, 27 
Clemenceau, 105-6 
Clericals, the, 76, 82, 176, an 
Coalition Government, British, 53 
College of Cardinals, 140 
Colonies, the Italian, 106, 163, 
231, 360 

Colosseum, the, 238 
Commercial treaties, 167, 214-5 
Commission of Eighteen, the, 


Committee of Civil Organisation, 

Committees of Civil Resistance, 379 
Communism, vii, lig, 140, jg8, 

ai 5 > 315 

Communists, the, 97-8, 100, 109, 
1 12, 117, 1 19, r25-7, 137-8, 149, 
r6i, 174, 178-80, 185-6, 205-6, 
211,240, 242,244. 397 
Concordat, the, 237, 272-3, 275, 
278-9, 291 
Condottieri, the, 6 
Confederation of Work, 73 
Conference of Ambassadors, the, 
168, 170-1, 2I6 

4 H 

Gonfinatii the, ai i 
Confino system, the, 205, 245-6 
Congresses, Fascist, 80, 143 
Congresses, Freemasons’, loi 
Constantinople, 384 
Constitution of 1848, the, 12, 14 
Constitutional Democrats, 186 
Constitutional Parties, 96-7 
Convention of 1896, the, 221 
Conventions of Santa Margherita, 


Convents, 238 
Coping-stone rites, 358 
Cordova, 242 
Corfu, 65, 167-70, 173 
Corpus Germanicum, 4 
Corradini, Enrico, 46 
Corridoni, Filippo, 46, 61 
Corritre della Sera, the, 158 
Corruption, political, 97 
Corsica, 32, 165 
Council of Action, 296 
Cremona, 83, 144, 188 
Croatia, 40, 65, 109 
Croce, Benedetto, 97 
Crown Prince, the, 241-2 
Crucifix, the, 238 
Curzon, Lord, 170 
Gyrenaica, 20, 108, 234 
Gzarist Russia, 64-6 
Czechoslovakia, 167, Z14, 217-8, 


Dalmatia, 8, 11, t8, 20, 3^-3. 37. 

39, 40, 106, 136, 165, 167, 252, 


D’Annunzio, 33, 47, 6 1 , 88, 90, 1 02, 

107 , ” 2 - 4 . 123. * 7 '. 177. 325 
Dante, 5, 123, 279, 293, 295, 325 
Dante Alighieri Society, 33, 165, 

262, 266, 290 
Dawes Plan, the, 257 
De Bono, General, 144-5, 185, 

187-8, 199 
De Facta, set Facta 
De Giorgio, 385 
De Monorchia, 5, 279 
De Stefani, 190, 403 

Dc Vecchi, 144-5, i47 
Debts, 166, 334-5, 354, s6o-i 
“ Decalogue,” a, 336-7 
Decennale, the, 245, 347, 294-5, 
323. 394, 

Defence Ministry, 230 
Del Croix, 206, 404 
Denmark, 269 

Deutscher Verband, the, 93, 118 
Diaz, General, 54-5, 60, 70, 154, 


Digne, 242 
Directory, the, 335 
Disarmament, 225, 258, 262-3, 
266, 268, 270 
Disciplina, ix 
Disciplinary Court, 335 
Dodecanese Islands, the, 38-9, 108, 

Dollar Debt List, 824 
Dollfuss, 270 
Donati, Giuseppe, 247 
Driu, the river, 40 
Dumini, 202 

Eastern Friuli, 1 1 
Economic crisis, world, 248-9, 260, 

Education, 304, 388-95 
Egypt, 108, HI, 1 13-4, 165 
Elections, 80, 89, 94, 1 76-7,206, 239 
Electoral reform, i6i, 239 
Elena, Queen, 276 
Emi^ants, 231, 233 
Emilia, 144 

Erwiclopedia Italiana, viii, 302, 310 
England, see Great Britain 
Epirus, 168 
Eritrea, 40 
Exports, 229 

Ex-servicemen, 70, 72-3, 75, 80, 
88, 102-3, HO, 186, 189, 206, 
355, 357, 363 

Facta, de, 12a, 140, 143, 145, 147, 
181, 208 

Factories, capture of, 78, 84, 89 
Faenza, 242 


Farinacci, i88-g, 199, Q01-2, 231, 

Farm labourers, 27 
Fasci (group centres), 44, 80 
Fasd di Combattimento, 71, 74, 135, 
137, 324, 395, 397 
Fascia, the first, vii 
Fascia of Patriotic Assurance, 81 , 85 
Fasciolo, Arturo, 247 
Fascist Grand Council, x, 160, 1 75, 
194-6, 234, 239, 289-91, 335-7, 
343. 403 
“ Fascisia," 44 
Federzoni, 185 
Ferrara, 88, 94 
Fcrri, Prof. Enrico, 369 
Fezzan, the, 224 
FilipeUi, 184 

Fiume, 32, 40, 76, 8i, loa, 106-7, 
109-14, 118, 141, 166-7, 171-3, 
177, 253 , 325 
Flanders, 59 

Florence, 9, 32, 79, 80, 83, 89, 91, 
137, 188, 247 
Foligno, 144 
Forli, 30, 247 
Forum, the, 295 

Four-Power Pact, the, viii, 226, 
249,251,267-9, 271 
France, 9, 1 7-8, 37-9, 59-6 1 , 66, 86, 
107-8, iio-i, 141, 154, 158, 163- 
4, 167, 184, 198, 203, 315 
Francis Ferdinand, Archduke, 35 
Francis Joseph, Emperor, 92 
Freemasonry, 76, 80, 82, loi, 175, 
200, 223, 236 
Freemasons, see Masons 
French Sahara, 108-9 
French troops at Fiume, 1 10 
Fundamental Ideas of Ftiscism, 

Fuorusdli, the, 198, 200-2, 2 1 1 , 220, 
222, 241, 244, 246, 364, 368 
Futurists, the, 33, 70 

Gallipoli, 58 

Garibaldi, 7, 8, 16, 61, 88, 113, 
130, 316 



Gasparri, Cardinal, 272 
Geneva, 29, 30, 369-71, 173, 258, 
261-2, 264 

Genoa, 12, 79, 138, 224, 391-2 
Gentile, Giovanni, 388 
George V., King, 166 
Georgia, 108-9 
Gerarchia, 137 

Germany, 4, 18-21, 35-8, 40, 45, 
53. 57. 66, 69, 76, 106-7, 163, 
212, 214, 2 1 7-2 1, 225-6, 249-52, 
259. 265-70, 315, 373, 385 
Gibraltar, 59, 384 
Gibson, Miss Violet, 203 
Giolitti, Giovanni, 15, 31, 41, 44, 
51-2, 54, 87, 90, 96-9, 1 14, 117- 
9, 122, 125-6, 140, 143, 173. 
179-80, 185, 206-9, 225. 243. 400 
Giordani, 91 

Giovinezza, the, 209, 324, 399 
Giunta, 262 

Giustiniani Palace, the, 175 
Gladstone, 17, 96 
Gold standard, 229, 323 
Gorizia, 39, 59, 92 
Gradisca, 39 

Grandi, Dino, 128, 144-5, * 47 . 

253. a6i, 263-4, 276, 404 
Graziano, 178, 400 
Great Britain, 7,17, 37-9, 52-3, 66, 
86, 107-8, iio-i, 113-4, 119, 141, 
158, 163-4, 198, 212, 217, 220-2, 
226, 251-3, 257-9, 262-3, 267, 

Greco-Turkish War, 108 
Greece, 64-5, 108, m, 167-71, 
212, 216, 256 
Grenoble, 242 
Grosseto, 126 
Guardic Regie, the, 86, 90 
Guelph and Ghibelline, 4 

Habsburg policy, 20 
Hague, The, 38, 257 
Hegel, 410 
Henderson, A., 258 
Hitler, 251-2, 265-6, 269-70 
HohcnzoUems, the, 19, loi 


Holy OfBce, the, 277 
Holy Roman Empire, the, 100, 

Holy See, the, 98, 145, 236-7 
Holy Year, the, 278 
“ Hundred Days, The,” 405 
Hungary, 6g, 76, no, 164, 167, 
214. 217-8, 250, 253 

Incendiarism, 89 

Imperial Rome, 3, 236-7, 293, 

363 _ 

Imperial Way, the, 295 

Index, the, 277 

Irtfemo, the, 5 

Inflation, 229 

Innsbruck, 93, 270 

Internationalism, 26, 96, lOO, 120 

Ireland, 84 

Isonzo, the river, 57, 88 
Istria, 8, 9, 33, 39, 92, 107 
Italian Mission, the, 168, 170 
Italian Union of Work, 73 
“ Italianity,” 7, 171, 221, 232, 

Italo-British friendship, 7 
Italo-Yugoslav Agreement, 65 

Japan, 259 
Jarabub, 222 
Jews, the, 269 
Juarez, Benito, 28 
Jubaland, 107, 222 
Jung, the banker, 403 

Kellogg Pact, the, 268 
Kemal, Mustapha, 108 
Kerensky, 65-6 
Krithia gullies, the, 58 
Kufra, 224 

“ Labour Chambers,” Socialist, 90 
Labour Charter, see Charter 
Labour Contracts, 344, 346-50 
Labour Court, the, 234, 342, 344, 

350. 352 

Labour Day, 322, 358, 396 
Lateran Palace, 274 


Lateran Treaty, la, 16,275, 279 
Lausanne, 30, 40, 166, ai6, 261 
Lavoro Fascista, II, 277 
Law of Guarantees, 237, 273 
League of Nations, 106, 169-71, 
aa5> 249, 258, 264, 267-9 
Leghorn, 91, 247 
Legionaries of Ronchi, the, i la 
Lenin, 79, 90, ug 
Leros, qi6 

L’Europa seiiza Pace, 107 
Levant, the, a 16 
Levy, Fascist, 396, 398 
Liberalism, 31, 47, 96-7, 158, 170, 
196, 198, 208, 306, 308, 314-7 
Liberals, the, 85, 96, iga, 153, 
158, 160, 170, 173-4, 178-9. aia. 

“ Liberty and Justice,” 244-5 
Libya, 40, io8, aao-2 
Lictor’s rods, the, 71, 322, 324 
Lidge, 241 
Liguria, 89 

Lion of St. Mark, 166, 266 
Lipari, 205 

Little Entente, the, 2 18, 250- 1 , 265 
Littoria, 363 
Lloyd George, 65, 105-6 
Locarno, 225-6, 251, 257, 267, 

Lombardo, Pellegrino, 400 
Lombardy, 18, 8g, 316 
London, Secret Treaty of, viii, 38- 
9, 64-6, 76, 104-7, log, 164, ai4, 
aig, 222 
Lucetti, 203-4 
Ludwig, Enail, 30 
Lugano, 242-3 
Luxemburg, 241 

MacDonald, Ramsay, 86, 251,267 
Machiavelli, 5, 29, 266 
Mafia, the, 87 
Malatcsta, 83 

Malta, 32-3, III, 165, 252, 256-7, 
262-3, 383 
Mameli’s hymn, 86 
“ Man of Destiny,” Italy’s, 1 17 

Mandates, 264 
Mantua, 144, 293 
March on Rome, 39, 6a, 125, 147, 
149-50, 154, 158, 160, 175, 185- 
6, 191, 226, 240, 245, 310, 314, 
321-2. 335, 385, 395, 399, 404 
Marinelli, 184, 202 
Marinetti, the futurist, 61,81 
Mary, Queen, 166 
Marx, Karl, a8, 315, 410 
Marxism, 29, 312 
Masons, the, 76, 80, 8a, loi, 103, 
143, 1 61, 175, 200, 21 i-a, 280 
Matteotti, Giacomo, 181, 183, 185, 
187. 199, 202, 244, 246-7, 404 
Mazzini, 78, 123, 132-4, 159, 316, 

Mediterranean, the, 17, 19, in, 
163, 165, 213-6, 220, 256, 383 
Memorial Day, 23a 
Merano, 7, 37, 93 
Mesopotamia, 36, 113 
Messina, 79 

Milan, 31, 61, 70-1, 75, 79, 82-4, 
90-2, 132, 138-9, 144, 147, 154, 
183, 245 

Militia, the, 174, 177-8, 180, 185, 
238-9, 289, 326, 336, 347, 364-5, 
369, 373. 381-2, 392-3, 395-8 
Mill,J. S., 329, 331 

Ministries, Mussolini’s, 29a 
Ministry of Corporations, 234, 239, 
264, 292, 404 

Mittel-Europa push, the, 20, 36 
Modena, 91 
Moltke, 315 

Monarchism, 62, 125, 129-30, 411 
Montenegro, 40, no, ng 
Monterotondo, 144 
Mosconi, 403 
Moscow, 70 
Montepulciano, 74-5 
Munich, 93, 384 
Mussolini, Arnaldo, 154, 409-10 
Mussolini, the father of, 28 

Nancy, 241 

Naples, 79, 84, 89, 143-4, 260, 368 



Napoleon L, 7, 405 
Napoleon III., 18, 315-6 
National Council of Corporations, 
342, 354 

National League, the, 85 
National Monument in Rome, 

323, 327 

Nationalists, the, 3a, 4i-a, 44, 5a, 
70, loa, 104, iio-i, 116, 137, 
153= 165 

Naviglio canal, 8a 
Navy, the, 376-8, 383-3. 385 
Nazis, the, 369-70 
Nettuno, 353 

Neutrality question, the, 41, 44, 

46-7. 51 

New York, aga, 342, 247 
Nice, 18, 33, 165, 341 
Nietzsche, 39, 410 
NihiUsm, 39 

Nitti, 82-7, 96, 107, 114, 133, 143, 
i6o, i8t, 208 
Nobile, General, 386 
North Africa, 20, 32, 40, io8, 213, 
222, 233-4, 327 

Northcliffean methods, 295, 403 
Obbtdisco, 8 

Orlando, 54, 97, 106-7, 122, 145, 
147, 173, 180, ao8 
Ostia, 351, 267 
Ottoman coasts, the, 36 
O.V.R.A., the, 245, 373 

Pact of Pacification, the, 137 
Padua, 193 

Palazzo Chigi, the, 194, aoi, 

Palestine, 119, 374 
Palmerston, 17, 96 
Papal States, the, 6-9 
Paradiso, the, 5 

Paris Peace Conference, set Peace 
Parliamentarianism, 99, too, 178, 

Party system, the, la 
Passports, 331, 333 
PaUr Patriae, 407 


Peace Conference, Paris, 64, 70, 
76, 96, 101-2, 104, 106-7, 109, 
III, 114 

Peace Treaty, see Versailles 
Penal Code, the, 370, 37a 
Persia, 1 13 

Perasso, Giovanni Battista, 39a 
Perugia, 79, 144-5, 147. 383 
Pesaro, 83, 229-30 
Petrarch, 105 
Philadelphia, 242-3 
Piave, the river, 54, 57, 59, 60 
Piedmont, 51, 84, 89, 275 
Pisa, 79, 83 
Pittsburg, 24a 
Pius IX., 16,315 

Pius XL, 125, 139, 275-6. 279-80 
Podesth, Ac, 229, 367-8 
Poincari, 166 
Pola, 9 

Poland, 139, 167, 214, 217-8, 265, 

Pontine Marshes, the, 362-3 
Pope, the, 9, 16, 19, a8, 54, 98, 
125, 139, 205,272,275-7, 371 
Popolo d’ltalia, the, 43, 45, 62, 70, 
78,82, loi, 123, *33-4, 139. 144. 
154, 160, 243, 347, a6i, 363-4, 

384, 409 

Popular Party, the, 8a, 98, 100, 

1 17, 121, 126, 140, 143,. 153, 
173. 176, 178-80, 187,277 
Posen, 139 

Prefect, the, 367, 371, 373, 378-9 
Press, the, la, i6o-i, 170, 176, 185- 
6, 188, 191-a, 201, 203, 205, aog, 
212-3, 229, 252, 257, 262, 271, 
295, 364, 370-5 

Proclamation of Mobilisation, 145- 

“ Profession of Faith,” Ae, 293 
Prussia, 9, 17-8 
Public Morals Federation, 276 
Public Works, 230, 357-6a 
Purgatorio, Ae, 5 

" Qjiadrumvirate,” Ae, 144-6, 
160, 185, 199, 336, 385 

Quarnaro, 9 

Qiiirinal, the, 31, 147-8, 276 

Rapallo, 1 14, 1 18, i66 ' 

Ravenna, 5, iq6, 147, 295 
Reclamation of land, 357, 361-2 
Red Confederation of Workers, 


“ Red Day,” 70 
“ Red Guards,” Nitti’s, 160 
Red Sea, the, 222, 264 
Redipuglia cemetery, the, 60 
Reds, the, 90, 92, 96-7, 114-5, 130, 
193. 335 

“ Render unto Caesar,” 276 
Reparations, 106, 109, 166, 225, 
254, 260-1 

Republicanism, 7, 26-8, 30, 43, 

125. 129-31 

Republicans, the, 44, 80, 178, 187, 
211, 410 

Revel, Admiral de, 154 
Revision, Treaty, 118, 225, 254, 
258, 265 

Ricci, Renato, 404 
Risorgimento, the, 3, 5, 71, 98, 
no, 130-2, 148, 175, 217, 236, 

275. 328 

Robespierre, 319 
Romagna, the, 127, 144, 409 
Roman Question, the, 15-6, 12 1-2, 
140, 236, 239, 272-3, 275 
Rome, March on, see March 
Ronchi, 1 1 2 

Rossi, Cesare, 184, 200, 244, 247 
Rossoni, Edward, 356 
Roumania, 218 

Russia, 38-9, 54, 64-6, 69, 76, 86, 
100, 105-6, 108, 163-4, 212, 215- 

9 . 264, 373 

Sabaudia, 363 
” Sacred zones,” 59 
Sahara, the, 108-9 
St.-Jean-de-Mauriennc, 66, 105 
St, Peter’s, 16, 272, 279 
Salandra,4i,47,5i,53, 145» 147-8, 
170, 173, 180, 185, 208, 225,400 


Salvemini, Prof. Gaetano, 45-6, 
247 _ 

Sardinia, 161, lyg, 362 
Savona, 89 
Schools, 357 
Schopenhauer, 29, 410 
Secret societies, 364, 366, 373 
Secret Treaty of London, see 
Serajevo, 35 

Serbia, 35-7, 40, 65, no, ng, 219 
Sivres, 108 

Sforza, Count, 114, 1 19, 154, 167, 

Sicily, 19, 87 
Siena, 89 
Sinn Fein, 113 
Smyrna, 66, 108 

Socialists, the, vii, 25-35, 42, 44, 
52-5. 69-73, 76-9, 81-5, 87-91, 
94-102, 1 17, 120, 126, 136-40, 
143, 159-61, 173, 178, 180, 185, 
205, 211, 306, 312-3 
Sofia, 384 

Soldiers’ and Workers’ Councils, 
54. 73 

“ Solomons,” the, 196 
Somaliland, 20, 40, 222 
Sons of Italy Society, 243 
Sorel, 28-30, 88, 410-1 
South America, 66, 212 
Southern Tyrol, 8, 38, 92-3, 142-3 
Spain, 167, 220 
Spalato, 166 

Special Defence Tribunal, 243-4, 

364. 369 

Squadristi, the, 91, 159, 174, 178, 

Stampa, the, 53 
Strickland, Lord, 256, 262 
Sturzo, Don, 98-100, 176, 208 
Switzerland, 29, 166, 215, 410 

Tangier, 220, 253 
Taranto, 169, 383 
Tariffs, 214-5, 226, 264 
Taxation of capital, 75 
Theunis, i66 



Three-Power Naval Pact, 359 
Ticino, 33 
Tirana, Pact of, qi6 
Tiroler Volksbund, the, ao 
Tivoli, 14^ 

Tonelii, Angelo, 347 
Toscanini, 81 
Trade treaties, 163 
Trau, 266 

Treaty of Versailles, s«« Veraaillca 
Trentino, the, 8, 11, 18, 33, SB, 

145. 215 

Treviso, 86 
Tribma, the, 53, 26a 
Tributory Pact, the, 106 
Trieste, it, 18, 20, 32, 37, 39, 59, 
61, go, 107, 1 12, 126 
Triple Alliance, the, viii, ig, 35, 
37, 40-1, aao 

Tripoli, 20, 108, 223, 234, 360, 

3G5. 384 

Tunis, ig, 20, 108, 1 1 1, 165, aao-i, 
241, 3O4 

Turati, Augusto, aoi, 231, 404 
Turati, the Socialist, ao8 
Turin, 8, g, 53-4, 79, 89, 188, 265, 

Turkey, 39, 40, 64, 66, 76, 105-8, 
164-5, 17°) 218, ai6, 222, 256, 

Tuscany, 74, 145 
Tyrolese, the, 255-6 
Tyrrhenian Sea, the, 383 

Udine, 132-3, 143 
Umbria, 144 

Unemployment, 249, 349, 357 
United States, 64-5, 105, 198, qoo, 
212, 224.6, 232-3, 242-3, 245, 
849, 252, 257, 259, 261, 264-5, 
268, 382 

Universities, 235, 276, 328, 365 
Unknown Warrior’s tomb, 148, 
810, 275, 328 

Vacirca, Vmr.enzo, 247 
Vallona, 86 

Vatican, the, 6, 16, too, iqi, 140, 
176, 238, 272, 275-6, 279-80, 291 
Veneto, the, 57.9, 94, 127 
Venezia Giulia, j t, 18, 32, 37, 46 
Venice, 8, 9, 12, 107, 188, 193, 316 
Verona, 79, 83, 93 
Versailles, Treaty of, viii, 64, 75, 
III, 1 15, 1 18, 217, 249, 254, 

Vicenza, 190 

Victor Emmanuel L, 8, g, 19 
Victor Emmanuel II., r8, 92-3, 
129, 147, 240, 276, 292 
Victory Day, 155, 322 
Vienna, 7, 20, 37, 47, 270, 383 
Villafranca, Peace of, viii, 18, 20 
Virgil, 5, 105,274,293, 325 
Vittorio Veneto, victory of, 55, 59, 
60, 104, 123, 146, 148, 154 
Voloska, Gulf of, 40 
Volpi, 224, 403 
Volta, 294 
Votive chapel, 328 

War and Neutrality, 46 
War Diary, Mussolini’s, 63, 6g 
War, the Great, viii, 34-5, 51, 85, 
i93> 817.281) 846, 261, 293, 316, 

Warsaw, 139 

Washington, 167, 224-5, 249, 257, 
259, q6i 

Wilson, President, 65, 74, 104-6, 


Women and children, welfare of, 

Yanina, 168 

Yugoslav Committee, the, 65 
Yugoslavia, 65, 104-6, no, 114, 
118, 141, 166-7, 171-3, 177, 818, 
214-20, 252-3, 265-7 
Yugoslavs, the, 33 

Zamboni, 200-1, 203 
Zara, 167 

Zionist movement, the, 119 
Zurich, 242, 384 


[tY l>&XS€, OLASaOW